Jump to content
Washington Football Team Logo
Extremeskins

USA TODAY: Rush hour at the draft: Pass rushers a hot commodity


bubba9497

Recommended Posts

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/2008-03-09-sw-defensive-line-prospects_N.htm

Click link for entire article

Rush hour at the draft: Pass rushers a hot commodity

By Jim Corbett, USA TODAY

INDIANAPOLIS — Maybe the New York Giants' front four of Michael Strahan, Justin Tuck, Barry Cofield and Osi Umenyiora will come to be known as "The New, New York Sack Exchange."

They certainly raised the 2008 draft stock of a talented class of pass rushers with their impressive dominance in pummeling league MVP Tom Brady and the high-octane New England Patriots into Super Bowl XLII submission.

The fast and furious Giants pass rush sacked Brady five times and hit him at least 23 times, keying New York's 17-14 upset of the previously unbeaten Patriots for the Lombardi Trophy. The Giants held the prolific Patriots to their lowest point total of the season and freshly underscored the value of a pass rush that can force a quarterback out of his comfort zone.

As much as the 2007 regular season was about the passing exploits of Brady and Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss or the fact that a record seven quarterbacks threw for more than 4,000 yards, the team that won the 2007 championship led all defenses with a regular-season-best 53 sacks and pounded Brady into a rare off day when it mattered most.

That furious pass-rushing pressure was the buzz of Pro Bowl week and the scouting combine in Indianapolis, where draft evaluation kicked into high gear.

"The NFL is a copycat league, and the Giants are drafting these long-armed, defensive end-linebacker-type guys," NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock says. "Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Michael Strahan and Mathias Kiwanuka. The Giants caused havoc throughout the playoffs and in the Super Bowl.

"And their pass rush hid some of their deficiencies in the secondary."

New York's speed rushers trumped the in vogue spread offense Brady and receivers Moss, Wes Welker, Jabar Gaffney and Donte' Stallworth took to a record-setting level while producing the majority of the team's NFL-record 589 regular-season points.

"Anytime you have a front four that can get to the quarterback like that, you can beat anybody," two-time Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl quarterback Tony Romo sits to pee says. "As much as the quarterback matters in this sport, the same goes for the defensive line."

Romo sits to pee would know. The Giants rang up two sacks and several pressures of Romo sits to pee, forcing him to throw a critical interception in their 21-17 playoff win against the top-seeded Cowboys at Texas Stadium.

Unlike the original New York Jets "New York Sack Exchange" of Mark Gastineau, Joe Klecko, Marty Lyons and Abdul Salaam, which hounded quarterbacks during the early 1980s, the Giants' version has a unique twist.

First-year defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo creatively used defensive end Tuck inside on certain pass-rushing downs. Tuck caused matchup headaches for the Patriots front line with two sacks and six tackles in the first half of the Super Bowl.

Every general manager will have an eye out during pro-day workouts over the next six weeks in search of the next Tuck, one of the Giants' most valuable commodities.

The 6-5, 274-pounder out of Notre Dame has rare flexibility to rush off the edge and also collapse the pocket as an inside force.

"With our Super Bowl team with the Ravens, we had two big guys in the middle with myself and Sam Adams," says Fox analyst Tony Siragusa, who played 12 seasons with the Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts. "But the Giants put Justin Tuck, a defensive end, in the middle. I thought the Patriots should have had bigger personnel in there and used more max protection for Brady.

"But Spagnuolo did a great job of analyzing what New England did and really just out-coaching them.

"I thought the whole key to the game was their inside rush with guys like Tuck. You knew they were going to get outside pressure with Osi and Michael Strahan. But Brady couldn't step up in the pocket because of Tuck."

Giants general manager Jerry Reese noted that Tuck and Kiwanuka, who suffered a season-ending leg injury in November, effectively gave Spagnuolo four defensive ends who could line up across the front to create protection nightmares for offenses.

"Tuck is unique," Reese says. "He's a big, strong guy. Not everybody can go inside. He gives us a lot of flexibility. We used Kiwanuka in there before he got hurt. We had four defensive ends in there at one point. You have to have the right people in the right defense to do it."

The good news for general managers is that the 2008 crop of pass rushers appears to have several talents who fit the Giants prototype.

There are as many as seven to eight pass rushers who could come off the board in the first round.

Start with Virginia defensive end Chris Long, the son of Los Angeles and Oakland Raiders Hall of Fame defensive lineman Howie Long. Chris Long, who played end in the Cavaliers' 3-4 defensive alignment, ranked third in the nation with 14 sacks in 2007.

There are also two inside studs in LSU disruptor extraordinaire Glenn Dorsey and Southern California's Sedrick Ellis. Ohio State's Vernon Gholston, who has been compared favorably to Patriots Pro Bowl linebacker and fellow Buckeye Mike Vrabel, could also transition from defensive end to a stand-up pass rusher, much like Vrabel did early in his career. Factor in defensive ends Derrick Harvey (Florida), Phillip Merling (Clemson) and Calais Campbell (Miami [Fla.]), and there could be a first-round run on pass rushers.

"There are five elite pass rushers at the top of this draft," Ravens director of college scouting Eric DeCosta says. "The Giants re-emphasized how important that pass-rushing aspect is.

"Pass rush always carries the day. The pass rushers and corners will come off the board early.

"A team picking in the top half of the second round will be able to get an outstanding pass rusher."

The top teams in 2007 — the Giants, Patriots, Colts, San Diego Chargers, Cowboys, Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks — all have cornerstone pass rushers. That group is headlined by such havoc-wreakers as Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis of the Colts, Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips with the Chargers and the Cowboys' Pro Bowl duo of DeMarcus Ware and Greg Ellis. Green Bay is led by two-time Pro Bowler Aaron Kampman, while Seattle's Patrick Kerney led the NFC with 14½ sacks.

"You pay a premium for pass rushers," DeCosta says. "Guys like Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis have that edge-rush ability on third down that really changes the complexion of a game.

"Certainly, the Giants' Super Bowl victory this year has further emphasized that. You can compete with the best teams in football if you have that pass rusher. Receivers don't have the time to run their routes and the quarterbacks don't have the time to find them.

"Chris Long, Gholston and Merling are those premium pass-rush-type guys in this draft."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd like us to get a DE in the draft, but how many times do I have to point out the majority of the board last offseason was convinced if we didn't draft DE than the D wouldn't be top 10? We finished 8th. A pass rush can mask defencies in the secondary, but a great secondary and LBer core can hide defencies on the D-line, it did in '07.

We do need a DE to replace Daniels, and back-up Wilson, or vice-versa. But acting like a great pass rush is the only way to be truly succesful in the NFL isn't smart thinking, because every year a team shows there isn't one specific way to succeed in the NFL. It's having the right combination of strengths to make up for weaknesses. Many swore up and down last offseason our lack of a pass rush would kill our D, we ddn't add much to the D-line, and still had the 8th overall defense in '07? How many times will it take before that sinks in? How many of you really want to get proven wrong on this 2 years in a row?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

its not about the freak talent... its about the guy who we can get in the 2nd round that is about as freaky, but not quite. its about the guy whos not as freaky that will be like an hb blades, a c.c., a montgomery. it's about a fit. we need either a 3- type dt or a pass rusher that can play the run giving the combination of MW and AC more 1 on 1's... which is a HUGE upgrade in time for our more complicated schemes to work. consider our secondary (if we are not in nickel for right this second at least) is elite with landry and reed- if reed is covering the TE (see the imaculatent run of adversity).

we really are close.. because if we can get a big DE that can play the run, we can use him as a justin tuke type player... causing enough dischord needed to run our d even more effectively... thus more cushion for our pushin'

weve been building and its actually in the cards as opposed to thrilling. plus we have history. we win SB's the year after the giants.

no link... if your smart enough, you remember the past thread.

httr

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Its really hard to argue with all of the top NFL teams all having big time pass rushers, but some people will.

We have heard Vinny talk about the need for a pass rushing DT, but since the Redskins are so into situational pass rushing(Wilson off the edge, and leaving Daniels in on regular downs), it makes even MORE sense to go out and get a top DE in the draft. This player plays DE on normal downs, and then on passing downs moves inside, alongside Daniels, with Carter and Wilson on the edge. Isnt that exactly what the Giants did? How does it make sense to go after a DT who will only play on passing downs, instead of a DE who will play every down?

Yes, our defense was top 10 last season. But it certainly wasnt because of our pass defense. It was because we had a dominant rush defense(Golston, Montgomery and Griff in the middle). Our rush defense was 4th in the NFL, and 3rd in YPC. Our passing defense was 16th in the NFL, 18th in Sacks, and at the very bottom in interceptions(only 5 teams had less). No, our defense last year was top 10 DESPITE our pass defense. A good secondary cannot mask a bad DLine. A good DLine can make a bad secondary look good. You cannot simply ignore this glaring hole in what could be an elite defense. Just think of how good this defense could be with an improved pass rush. We would no longer be talking top 10, we would be talking top 2-3.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually Vinny was quoted at one point as saying that defensive linemen aren't a priority and can be had late in the draft. That just goes to show how much schlubs like Bill Polian and Tony Dungy don't know.

We got Montgomery in the 5th round, Jared Allen was a 4th rounder, Trent Cole a 5th, Aaron Kampman a 5th, James Harrison was undrafted. Vinny did say this offseason the team was looking for D-linemen, and given the fact that other than depth in a couple areas, the team doesn't have a ton of needs what with retaining all 22 starters, we have enough draft picks to where the likelihood of drafting D-line in the 2nd or 3rd is pretty good.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Its really hard to argue with all of the top NFL teams all having big time pass rushers, but some people will.

We have heard Vinny talk about the need for a pass rushing DT, but since the Redskins are so into situational pass rushing(Wilson off the edge, and leaving Daniels in on regular downs), it makes even MORE sense to go out and get a top DE in the draft. This player plays DE on normal downs, and then on passing downs moves inside, alongside Daniels, with Carter and Wilson on the edge. Isnt that exactly what the Giants did? How does it make sense to go after a DT who will only play on passing downs, instead of a DE who will play every down?

Yes, our defense was top 10 last season. But it certainly wasnt because of our pass defense. It was because we had a dominant rush defense(Golston, Montgomery and Griff in the middle). Our rush defense was 4th in the NFL, and 3rd in YPC. Our passing defense was 16th in the NFL, 18th in Sacks, and at the very bottom in interceptions(only 5 teams had less). No, our defense last year was top 10 DESPITE our pass defense. A good secondary cannot mask a bad DLine. A good DLine can make a bad secondary look good. You cannot simply ignore this glaring hole in what could be an elite defense. Just think of how good this defense could be with an improved pass rush. We would no longer be talking top 10, we would be talking top 2-3.

You left out we lost Rogers for the season, and we lost Taylor. We will never know how many INTs he would have finisshed with, but what we do know is that our pass defense suffered at first because of those 2 losses. Also, the Pats game skews our pass D stats pretty badly, as they did to a lot of teams in '07. Our pass D was good last year, until the loss of Taylor, there was only a couple of passes completed for 30 yards or more. Our D was not top 10 despite our pass defense, because nobody could mess with Area 51. Randy Moss had one big catch, with Springs on him. Other than that the Pats ate us up over the middle, Brady wasn't connecting deep with Moss like in most every other game they played.

And who said we were going to ignore D-line this year? Vinny wants that 3-technique DT, maybe the team likes what they have seen from Chris Wilson so far, and wants to stick with him, he did put up 4 sacks in the limited amount of time he played. Who knows? One thing we do know is that so far everything Vinny has said he has stuck by, meaning us acquiring some form of D-line help in the draft is a strong likelihood.

Don't get me wrong, a pass rush definitely helps, but it's not like we don't already have a good pass rusher in Andre Carter, he did have 10.5 sacks last season. We need quick guys on the edge, and guys in the middle who can collapse the pocket. If we get another big guy in the middle, Wilson and Carter could potentially wreak havoc. We'll have to wait until April to see though, but IMO we are going to add at least one D-lineman in the draft.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

well bubba, now you've got me wanting one of those long-armed, defensive end-linebacker-type guys for the skins. If the skins can come away from this draft with a pass rushing monster and a restocked oline (to counteract the other guys rushers) i could definitely live with that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A great pass rush will put any QB in an all day fight, and through pressure, will allow the secondary to shine. Last time we won the SB, we sacked Jim Kelly 5 times !.

Now it's up to the scouting staff to find the players.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd like us to get a DE in the draft, but how many times do I have to point out the majority of the board last offseason was convinced if we didn't draft DE than the D wouldn't be top 10? We finished 8th. A pass rush can mask defencies in the secondary, but a great secondary and LBer core can hide defencies on the D-line, it did in '07.

We do need a DE to replace Daniels, and back-up Wilson, or vice-versa. But acting like a great pass rush is the only way to be truly succesful in the NFL isn't smart thinking, because every year a team shows there isn't one specific way to succeed in the NFL. It's having the right combination of strengths to make up for weaknesses. Many swore up and down last offseason our lack of a pass rush would kill our D, we ddn't add much to the D-line, and still had the 8th overall defense in '07? How many times will it take before that sinks in? How many of you really want to get proven wrong on this 2 years in a row?

I completely agree with you elk, and actually, I think the total defense was better than 8th. I just think folks want a guy on the line that can be a game-changer on Sunday's. A guy that teams must account for. A guy that can get to the QB on 3rd down's more often than not and stop a team's momentum cold. Carter's numbers are there amongst the best but IMO the guy just does not seem to cause the same havoc week in and week out as does the Allen's, Kampman's and Ware's of the league. That's just my perception and I like to think I'm not completely FOS.

I know the guy can make plays - it's just not something I'm personally seeing often enough. I'm not questioning his ability or heart in the slightest because obviously both are there in abundance. I really think were we to get an upper echelon type DL, be it DE or DT, I think Carter could become an absolute force out there without a doubt. I really think that's the missing link regarding the defense. Carter and the line need some help and I hope we can find someone in the draft that is capable of providing it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We'll see what Vinny actually does with the 21st pick. I don't think we can go on one old quote or even what he is or isn't saying publicly now. He's not going to come out before the draft and tell the world what he's going after....................

If I were picking, I would definitely take one of the "5 elite pass rushers".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We'll see what Vinny actually does with the 21st pick. I don't think we can go on one old quote or even what he is or isn't saying publicly now. He's not going to come out before the draft and tell the world what he's going after....................

If I were picking, I would definitely take one of the "5 elite pass rushers".

At pick 21 no one knows who is going to be still on the board. There could be a big run on CBs which could mean that a DE or DT that no one expected would be available for the Skins. Or, the DEs, DTs and CBs are picked clean and we unexpectedly are presented with top ranked OL and WRs. Skins will pick the BPA.

My guess is that CBs will be picked earlier than their general ranking. And, as explained in the article provided by the OP, DEs will go early. We may wind up with several WRs to chose from + an unexpected OL player. Given that scenario I wonder which way Vinny would go?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

]']Good. Lets hope all the stupid teams draft DEs in the 1st round' date=' and we draft plenty on day 2.[/quote']

Is this sarcasm?

When will people on this board realize that 1st round pick doesn't mean you're getting the best talent.

Who would you rather have?

Jason Babin (Texans, Rd 1, 2004) or Jared Allen (Chiefs, Rd 4, 2004)

If we have a decent scouting department, we can draft a DE in the later rounds and have him pay dividends.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd like us to get a DE in the draft, but how many times do I have to point out the majority of the board last offseason was convinced if we didn't draft DE than the D wouldn't be top 10? We finished 8th. A pass rush can mask defencies in the secondary, but a great secondary and LBer core can hide defencies on the D-line, it did in '07.

We do need a DE to replace Daniels, and back-up Wilson, or vice-versa. But acting like a great pass rush is the only way to be truly succesful in the NFL isn't smart thinking, because every year a team shows there isn't one specific way to succeed in the NFL. It's having the right combination of strengths to make up for weaknesses. Many swore up and down last offseason our lack of a pass rush would kill our D, we ddn't add much to the D-line, and still had the 8th overall defense in '07? How many times will it take before that sinks in? How many of you really want to get proven wrong on this 2 years in a row?

Stats can be misleading. Finishing 8th might sound like really good but when you watched the games you could see that opposing QB's had too much time when playing the skins. A little more pressure from the D-line could take our D to the next level where they can win games for the team. We need some more turnovers from the D-line.You also saw towards the end of the games the secondary and LB unit got tired becaue of the amount of time they had to spend chasing receivers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is this sarcasm?

When will people on this board realize that 1st round pick doesn't mean you're getting the best talent.

Who would you rather have?

Jason Babin (Texans, Rd 1, 2004) or Jared Allen (Chiefs, Rd 4, 2004)

If we have a decent scouting department, we can draft a DE in the later rounds and have him pay dividends.

Uh... contrary to your argumentive post, our posts actually agreed very much.

My quote said let the STUPID teams draft DEs in the first, like the Texans and Jason Babin, and let US draft good players later, such as Jared Allen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pass rushers take a year or two to develop. There are freaks like Peppers... but they get drafted in the top 10 and even then its a crap shot just like anywhere else in the draft. People were bashing Houston for Mario William's lack of production last year, but look at them now.

You think Greenbay fans were high fiving over drafting Kampman? Same of Jared Allen etc.

I guess the point of this post is this... even if we drafted a DE in the 1st couple of rounds, we most like wouldn't notice any difference in production until at least next year.

Let's use a couple of late round picks to get physical specimins and develop them. We might just get lucky and get a another gem like A.Montgomery (at least he seems to be turning into one).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are a slave to what is picked before us. It's a sad reality. If a stud sure fire winner is there at #21 or in the 2nd, sure take em, but I'd not push it on DE, I think we can get by with what we have now plus maybe another guy to groom to replace daniels next year.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...