I joined this blog a few weeks ago, and during this time I have read many many mock drafts on here as well as on Mockingthedraft.com and the other sports websites. What has started to occur to me is just how many teams are moving to the 3-4, with the Packers making the shift last year, the Bills moving to it this year, and by my count a little less than half the NFL will be running it in some form next year.
Obviously we run it, SD, GB, Buffalo, Denver, Dallas, Jets, Cleveland, Chiefs, Pats, Miami, SF, Baltimore, and the Cards all run it to some degree. Now we have seen that the NFL is a copycat league, before this it was popular to run the Tampa Two scheme and many teams shifted to running this in some form. This has been largely figured out by the league, and now teams have moved on to the new craze, the 3-4 Defense. And we can expect more teams to incorporate this into their own schemes in the next few years.
With so many teams making the shift only recently, many of those players we have found who fit our scheme in the middle or later rounds will start to have a higher value as more teams coveting them. I can see at least 7 of those teams ( SD, Buff, Chiefs, Denver, Jets, Miami, SF) that I think should target a NT in this years draft. After reading many mock drafts on mockingthedraft.com for several teams, it seems like almost every 3-4 team wants to take one of these guys. With so many teams running schemes similar to ours, we are going to have to pay a premium for most of the guys we want from here on out.
I don't see this being a problem while we have LeBeau running our D, but he will be 73 this year, and frankly who knows how much longer he will want to keep going. But my theory is that in the next few years we should give serious thought to running a hybrid scheme and transitioning to a 4-3. All those quick penetrating tackles and ends who can rush the passer and are big enough to hold against the run will start to fall. Guys like Navarro Bowman grade out really high, but as an outside linebacker best suited for the 4-3 I have seen him fall to the 3rd round.
I just thought I would put it up for discussion, can you see us trying new formations out as a way of staying ahead of the rest of the NFL?