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If we're gonna talk about the best players in each position in a 3-4, we can only talk about guys who have played the technique before, because its impossible to predict accurately exactly who from the 4-3 would translate as effectively in the 3-4.
So having that said.
DE - Seymour
NT - Jamal Williams
DE - Luis Castillo
SOLB - Adalius Thomas
ILB - Donnie Edwards
ILB - Tedy Bruschi
WOLB - Shawn Merriman
hey guys can you please settle this between PMs, this is a good thread and I hope it doesnt get locked for 1 letter difference.
but back to you point i can never see a 3-4 dline over 1000lbs
That would be extremely difficult to pull off. 3-4 DEs have to still have some quickness so they can move laterally and defend the outside run. Also your LE in a 3-4 needs to be more versatile because he's the primary edge rusher in a 4 man rush out of the 3-4. 350 Lbs would not cut it, they would lack the lateral movement to be successful.
Until we find a freak of nature capable of moving laterally with quickness on a 350 lb frame, it will never happen.
Interesting BBD for having Adalius Thomas over Joey Porter I read on other forums that people have Porter labeled as the best 3-4 OLB in the leauge.
Adalius Thomas has 8 sacks this season as a situational rushbacker in a 4-3 front. I could only imagine if they imployed a full time 3-4 as their base. Everyone would say "Shawne Merriman who?" because Adalius would dwarf his rather impressive season. Adalius Thomas is the best 3-4 OLB followed by Merriman.
Adalius is the best coverage defender, arguably the best pass rusher, and one heck of a run stuffer. He has no weakness
I also want to discuss this notion that the 3-4 is quicker than the 4-3. This is actually false.
We assume that because you have an extra linebacker, that your team defense is faster, but the truth is 3-4 defenses are slower than 4-3 defenses, and actually thicker when you add up the total body mass of the front 7.
The prototypical 3-4 has these respective weights.
DE - 290
NT - 340
OLB - 260
ILB - 250
Thats 1940 lbs of mass in the front 7.
The prototypical 4-3 bodyweights are
DE - 270
NT - 310
UT - 300
MLB - 240
SLB - 240
WILL - 235
Thats 1865 lbs of mass.
The 4-3 has smaller quicker linebackers who play the middle of the field faster than the 3-4.
Remember, while the 3-4 may have one extra LB, youre usually blitzing that LB, leaving 3 LBs in coverage who tend to be thicker than 4-3 Lbs, so you have less speed in coverage. Plus, your 3 downlinemen are essentially all DTs, so you get less overall speed out of the pass rush as well.
This is why the 3-4 is better against the run, but worst against the pass. You have a thicker front 7 against the run, and its spaced out so its difficult to bounce it outside as well. However, the overall weight of the front 7 reduces team speed, making coverage a little slower, and pass rush a little slower, thus equating to worse pass defense.
Don't believe me? Think about who has the best run defenses in the league. Dallas, Pittsburgh, and SD. All 3-4 teams. Who has the best pass defenses? Generally Cover 2 teams, built on speed and 4-3 fronts, like the Bears.
How does everyone feel if Terrell Suggs played OLB in a 3-4 were he would be ranked up with some players.
Well, he has played in it before, and at a very high level. I personally felt that Baltimore is more suited for the 3-4 with Thomas and Suggs, but theyre just accomodating Ray until he retires with their 4-3 right now.
Suggs would be a great pass rusher and run stuffer, but at his current frame he's a little too thick for great pass coverage. He'd be good, but not top level.
I think when you talk about pass coverage, the best 3-4 OLBs are
Adalius, Joey Porter, Demarcus Ware, and Mike Vrabel (McGinnest gets honorary mention for years of great coverage)
In terms of pass rushing you have
Adalius, Merriman, Suggs, Ware
In terms of run stuffing
Adalius, Merriman, Ware, Suggs, Porter are all in the same level
I think having that said, its very difficult to make a list of 3-4 olbs, but its easier to discuss who would be the best out of these guys.
I think its between Adalius and Merriman.
But a better question is what if we introduced DEs into the mix? Jason Taylor, Osi Umenyiora, maybe Alex Brown...they would all thrive as rushbackers in a 3-4 too, so its very difficult to say whos best.
Out of the guys who have played 3-4, Id say the best is Adalius followed by Merriman.