Jump to content

Physical Archetypes for the front 7 of the defense


Recommended Posts

I've been noticing a lot of people thinking a 6'6", 285 pound defensive end and calling him the "Ideal fit for LEO" and well.... that's just not how this defensive scheme works. I get that you want to back your player, but there's a certain type of physical archetype that the spot in the scheme needs. In fact, each spot has it's own archetype based on past players.

SDE: Normally, this player is around what Ra'Shede Hageman is. Red Bryant was 6'5", 320. Hageman is 6'6", 310. But with Michael Bennett and his freak athleticism, we have seen this spot be ok with a guy who fits more of the Patrick Kerney mold. Bronson Kaufusi was a guy I wanted in the 2016 draft to take this spot because he had very close to what would be ideal for the position. Tanoh Kpassagnon might wind up close to these measurables in this draft.

Ideal measurables: 6'5", 290, 4.80 40, 1.65 10, 4.25 shuttle, 7.10 cone, 25 bench reps, 35" vertical, 10'0" broad

NT: Unlike nose tackle or strong-side end, there have been four or five different phenotypes to play this position for Quinn through the years. And honestly, it just looks like he wants someone who can eat doubles while also getting off the line quick and having some girth to eat a double team or two. Ideally, a freak athlete like a Dontari Poe could play this position because he'd be massive but able to attack the interior quickly.

Ideal measurables: 6'1"-6'4", 320-350, 5.00 40, 1.75 10, 4.50 shuttle, 7.50 cone, 35 bench reps, 30" vertical, 9'0" broad

UT: If there was one player who could fit this model to a tee, it's Aaron Donald. However, he's a freak athlete and extremely rare. Also, Dan Quinn tends to like taller defensive tackles for whatever reason. In looking into it, if Quinn could get a Gerald McCoy or Ndamukong Suh type at his 3-T under tackle role, he'd be ecstatic. That's the ideal fit for the position based on what he's had in the past.

Ideal measurables: 6'4", 310, 4.90 40, 1.70 10, 4.40 shuttle, 7.20 cone, 30 bench reps, 35" vertical, 9'6" broad

LEO: This might be the one spot that people get the most confusion on. There is a confusion on this forum that height is essential for the position, but when looking around the league at guys playing this spot, you have Yannick Ngakoue (6'2" 252)/Dante Fowler (6'2-5/8" 251), Cliff Avril (6'2-7/8" 255), Brooks Reed (6'2-1/2" 265) and Khalil Mack (6'2-1/2" 255) all playing this spot. So height ISN'T a requisite for the spot. In fact, it looks like Vic Beasley (6'2" 245) might be the best fit here. But athletically, a guy like Derek Barnett (6'3" 265) or Takkarist McKinley (6'2" 265) might be the best fit in the draft. Length is requisite, but that's in arm length. NOT height. In fact, squatty guys are the best fit.

Ideal measurables: 6'3", 265, 4.50 40, 1.50 10, 4.15 shuttle, 6.90 cone, 25 bench reps, 40" vertical, 11'0" broad

WLB: This is a spot where height does matter. In looking at the phenotypes for the guys who have played the spot, it's basically just someone who is built like a Kam Chancellor type and athletic like him but playing on the weakside. KJ Wright and De'Vondre Campbell both definitely fit this and will be good fits long term. However, this could be a situation where a guy like Zach Cunningham could be brought in as he would also fit this phenotype and could give Atlanta more versatility with their WLB and SLB pairing than Phillip Wheeler gives.

Ideal measurables: 6'3", 240, 4.55 40, 1.65 10, 4.40 shuttle, 7.10 cone, 20 bench reps, 35" vertical, 10'0" broad

MLB: The Falcons have the ideal phenotype here already in Deion Jones. He just needs to eat a biscuit or two to get up to the 240 lbs that would make him completely ideal. Between him and Bobby Wagner, the Falcons have their ideal phenotype to work from.

Ideal measurables: 6'1", 240, 4.40 40, 1.50 10, 4.25 shuttle, 7.10 cone, 20 bench reps, 35" vertical, 11'0" broad

SLB: The SLB needs basically the same measurables as a LEO. However, they need to be a little lighter so they can move a little more fluidly. Ideally, an SLB would look like Vic Beasley, Von Miller or even Bruce Irvin. The Falcons have a guy who could fit there in Beasley, but he needs to get better conditioning so he can go hard for all 100% of the snaps instead of the 60% he's been playing.

Ideal measurables: 6'2", 250, 4.50 40, 1.50 10, 4.15 shuttle, 6.90 cone, 25 bench reps, 40" vertical, 11'0" broad

So as you can see, Dan Quinn has the archetypes he wants already working in some spots. But the Falcons do need to get certain ones to make this defense better. Most notably a true NT, Vic to start showing out at either LEO or SLB, and an SDE that can actually create some pressure. Tanoh Kpassagnon is a good player, but his fit in this scheme is NOT at LEO. He's a fit at SDE with potential to slide down to DT in the nickel. Why try and force the square peg in the round hole?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I appreciate the effort, although I think this is a little too specific. Just looking at what Seattle has done and what Quinn has done here is a pretty small sample size. 

With that said by and large I agree with what you have said. The only one's I would contest are the 3 tech (height isn't really a requisite) and the SAM where Quinn has specifically mentioned length as being important. 

Ideal LEO to me is your Von Miller, Khalil Mack, Demarcus Ware body types.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, Smiler11 said:

I appreciate the effort, although I think this is a little too specific. Just looking at what Seattle has done and what Quinn has done here is a pretty small sample size. 

With that said by and large I agree with what you have said. The only one's I would contest are the 3 tech (height isn't really a requisite) and the SAM where Quinn has specifically mentioned length as being important. 

Ideal LEO to me is your Von Miller, Khalil Mack, Demarcus Ware body types.

When Quinn talks about length, he's referring to arm length and wingspan, though. not height. SLB being a guy like Devondre Campbell would be awesome though because him there with a guy like Cunningham at WILL would be fun.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

29 minutes ago, Scott Carasik said:

When Quinn talks about length, he's referring to arm length and wingspan, though. not height. SLB being a guy like Devondre Campbell would be awesome though because him there with a guy like Cunningham at WILL would be fun.

Length is usually a combination of all three - height, reach and wingspan. I agree though, height isn't everything. I think Campbell could be a good SAM or Will, he's built like KJ Wright but he's a better athlete with better pass rush potential. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 minutes ago, datchrisb1 said:

To me only thing similar across the board with this defense is the requirements of SAM and LEO, pretty much everything else depends on the coach. LEO doesn't require length neither is length a deterrent. 

Agree that SAM and LEO are somewhat interchangeable. Arm length is important for any pass rusher though, more so than height.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tanoh Kpassagnon is a good player, but his fit in this scheme is NOT at LEO. He's a fit at SDE with potential to slide down to DT in the nickel. Why try and force the square peg in the round hole?

The jury is still out on TK for me; he is certainly a player the Falcons could use but I want to see his Senior Bowl work/evals and testing/measurables before I determine his 'draft value'.

Currently, I am believing he may be able to play at SDE, some nickel DT next to the SAM, and when desired he could be a valuable LEO when we are in a more base run defense set (as we now see Reed doing a lot) but still provide some pass rush when there at some point down the road.

With where we are going to be positioned in the draft he is a player that might have to be taken earlier because he won't last to our next pick. Whether that is 1st to 2nd, or 2nd to 3rd, or perhaps 3rd to 4th is the mystery right now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, m2Falcons said:

Tanoh Kpassagnon is a good player, but his fit in this scheme is NOT at LEO. He's a fit at SDE with potential to slide down to DT in the nickel. Why try and force the square peg in the round hole?

The jury is still out on TK for me; he is certainly a player the Falcons could use but I want to see his Senior Bowl work/evals and testing/measurables before I determine his 'draft value'.

Currently, I am believing he may be able to play at SDE, some nickel DT next to the SAM, and when desired he could be a valuable LEO when we are in a more base run defense set (as we now see Reed doing a lot) but still provide some pass rush when there at some point down the road.

With where we are going to be positioned in the draft he is a player that might have to be taken earlier because he won't last to our next pick. Whether that is 1st to 2nd, or 2nd to 3rd, or perhaps 3rd to 4th is the mystery right now.

Weird, feel the same way when I look at his metrics. When I watch the tape I think he could play at LEO. Off the tape, and yes the ones that are out there aren't against great competition, I think he could possibly excell at that position. I with you really, waiting to watch the Senior Bowl. I just wouldn't go as far as too say that's like fitting a round peg in a square hole.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

SDE is nowhere close to what you think it is. Quinn's 1st year at Seattle he used Bryant there, but when Bryant left the entire philosophy changed on the front four. Bennett and Avril were the best edge rushers on the team but the problem is that they both did their best work from the left side, so Quinn got a little bit creative with it. Cliff Avril is absolutely terrible rushing from the right side so whenever he was on the field it was at LDE. When Avril wasn't on the field Bennett would go to LDE and someone else like Bruce Irvin, Cassius Marsh, or O'Brien Schofield would go to RDE.

That actually brings me to another point. You can't just assume that a guy who's always rushed from the right is going to be a just fine fit for us at LDE just because his body type fits that mold more than it fits LEO. You saw with Ray Edwards what could happen if you take a guy who's used to rushing from one side and try to force him to rush from the other side. Avril is the same way. Can't rush from the right worth a squat. This is probably a more common phenomena than we realize, and I wanted to point that out. Back to the explanation.

The thing about Avril always playing on the defensive left is that if a defense lined up a TE on that side while Avril was on the field, he wasn't the LEO anymore, he was a base end. He'd take on all of the responsibilities we usually associate with a base end. At the same time when Avril was on the field and Bennett was at RDE, Bennett became the LEO on the plays where the offense lined a TE up on Avril's side. Bennett also kicked inside to rush from the interior in most nickel situations - they used Bruce Irvin in a role very similar to how we use Beasley here. Sam LB in the base but DE/LEO in nickel.

Also, you're legitimately off your rocker for saying Michael Bennett has "freak athleticism". He's not as bad an athlete as his combine numbers would indicate, but he's pretty middle of the pack as far as successful NFL edge rushers go. 4.86 40, 1.62 10 split, 36" vert, all numbers from his pro day where he wasn't dealing with the hamstring issue that killed his combine numbers.

Tanoh Kpassagnon is either a LEO or a 3 tech in this scheme. If he's 290 like I'm seeing him listed on a bunch of sites, he's a 3 tech. Quinn loves his 3 techs to be tall and long, as seen with Seattle when he used Tony McDaniel extensively there even though he wasn't an elite player at the position by any means and Quinn probably had better options. LEOs need to have some length to them but it's mostly arm length. That said, regarding Kpassagnon, I don't think he's 290 or even 285. I'd guess 275, and at 6'6 that's a perfect size for LEO.

If you want a true "ideal" LEO "phenotype", you want Robert Quinn. Quinn is absolutely perfect for what you'd ask for from a LEO. He's 6'4 265, has 34" arms, was only 21 years old as a rookie, and his pro day numbers are stellar. 10'05" broad, 6.99 3 cone, 4.6 40, just awesome across the board for a guy his size. What you really want is a young, explosive player with some length.

For NT, you're overblowing it by saying the guy needs to be at least 320 lbs. Brandon Mebane was an absolutely incredible NT for Seattle for YEARS in the 4-3 under scheme, and he's one of the few pieces that Dan Quinn actually KEPT from before he showed up into his 2nd year with that D. Mebane coming out of Cal was 6011 309. Grady Jarrett coming out of Clemson was 6006 304. They have a nearly identical BMI (40.62 for Mebane vs. 40.38 for Jarrett) and they're both great NTs for this scheme. For NT I'd say you actually WANT a short stocky guy because they've got a natural leverage advantage and are harder to move off the ball, BUT you also need a guy that can move because our NT is extremely important when it comes to defending outside runs. In that sense Grady is actually BETTER than Mebane because every single one of his athletic testing numbers blow Mebane's out of the water.

Aaron Donald is an ideal interior rusher no matter the scheme, but he's also a pretty huge outlier in that most elite interior rushers aren't that freakishly athletic. You mentioned that Quinn likes taller 3 techs, and I think that's the important part to remember. Remember, Quinn was the one in Seattle who wanted Kevin Williams as his 3 tech. Williams was 6047 304 coming out of Oklahoma State. Tony McDaniel was 6067 300 lbs coming out of Tennessee. These are the guys you should be looking at as the "phenotype" (I keep quoting it because that's such a weird freaking word to use for these, but whatever) for the 3 tech spot on our defense.

Here's what I'd say as the ideal position requirements for each spot in our front 7:

Sam LB: Should be at least 6024, Vert should be 34.5" or better, broad jump 9'9" or better, 3 cone 7.19 or better. The guy everyone should aspire to be as a Sam LB is Von Miller.

Base end: No clue. Dan Quinn is a mysterious man. This position has been played by huge range of players between Red Bryant, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Tyson Jackson, Derrick Shelby and Courtney Upshaw. Based on the Derrick Shelby signing I'm guessing Quinn really wants this spot to be a Michael Bennett type, so you probably want to aim for something around 6'3 275 (give or take an inch or two and ~5-10 pounds) with a skillset that lines up more with a DT than a DE.

NT: BMI at least 38, good lateral agility and explosiveness, difficult to move around

3 tech: At least 6'4, BMI somewhere between 33 and 37, arms 33" minimum (ideally 34"+)

LEO: Younger than 23 to start career, at least 6'4, broad jump 9'9" or better. BONUS: 3 cone 7.19 or better, short shuttle 4.22 or better. Not likely to find a guy that meets everything but this is what we're aiming for.

WLB: 6'3" or taller, above average athletic profile for a LB

MLB: Sub-4.5 speed, aggressive and able to take on blocks without backing down like a coward. AKA NOT Paul Worrilow. Just sayin'.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 hours ago, Kayoh said:

historical evidence of great RDEs vs. good and mediocre ones

However, in this scheme, it doesn't seem to be a requirement. Sure, I'd love to have a guy like Anthony Barr or JD Clowney or Danielle Hunter for the LEO spot. Don't get me wrong. But don't kick away prospects like Derek Barnett or Shaq Lawson just because they might be 6'2".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Scott Carasik said:

However, in this scheme, it doesn't seem to be a requirement. Sure, I'd love to have a guy like Anthony Barr or JD Clowney or Danielle Hunter for the LEO spot. Don't get me wrong. But don't kick away prospects like Derek Barnett or Shaq Lawson just because they might be 6'2".

Shaq Lawson would've been a garbage LEO regardless. He was a better fit for our base end spot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

37 minutes ago, JDaveG said:

I wonder if they don't leave Hage at 3T next year and put Shelby at 5T.

Hage's been playing the 1 the past few games and doing REALLY well at it. Jarrett has been playing the 3. Have to wonder if Quinn finally figured out their best spots. Hageman physically is almost perfect for the NT role.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, Scott Carasik said:

Hage's been playing the 1 the past few games and doing REALLY well at it. Jarrett has been playing the 3. Have to wonder if Quinn finally figured out their best spots. Hageman physically is almost perfect for the NT role.

That works too. Hage at nose with Jarrett at 3T and Shelby at 5T. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, JDaveG said:

That works too. Hage at nose with Jarrett at 3T and Shelby at 5T. 

Yup. Base of this would be fine by me next year:

LEO: Sign a guy/Reed

NT: Hageman

UT: Jarrett

SDE Shelby

Nickel

RDE: Sign a guy/Freeney re-sign

NT Hageman/Clayborn/sign a guy

UT Jarrett/Clayborn/sign a guy

LDE Beasley

But we need Hageman to continue to show out like he has.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Scott Carasik said:

Hage's been playing the 1 the past few games and doing REALLY well at it. Jarrett has been playing the 3. Have to wonder if Quinn finally figured out their best spots. Hageman physically is almost perfect for the NT role.

I just went through the entire Seattle game (all 22) and Hageman was at NT a few times. To be exact, 12 times.

Play 1: 2nd and 10 on the ATL 47. 2TE, 1RB. Run play. Hageman at 1 on the defensive right, Babs at 2 (?!) on the left, Beasley and Freeney rushing from wide 5s. Shede draws a double team. 3 yard run up the gut, creates 3rd & 7.

Play 2: 3rd and 1 on the ATL 17. 1TE, 1RB. Run play. Hageman at 1 on the defensive right, Grady at 2o on the left, Beasley and Freeney rushing from wide 5s. Jarrett draws a double team, Shede doesn't. Beasley and Neal combine for a tackle after a 2 yard gain.

Play 3: 1st and 10 on the ATL 15. 1TE, 1RB. Run play. Same defensive alignment & as play 2, but with Reed at LDE instead of Beasley. Jarrett kind of blew the play up because he wasn't double teamed. Hageman got pancaked on a single block.

Play 4: 3rd and 2 on the ATL 7. Empty set. Pass play. Same defensive alignment & personnel as play 3. Despite Hageman lining up at 1 tech, Grady is still the one drawing double teams, even in pass pro.

Play 5: 2nd and 7 on the SEA 48. 1TE, 1RB. Pass play. Hageman at 1t on the defensive left, Jarrett at 3t on the right. Freeney at RDE, Vic left. Hageman gets doubled and nearly pancaked, Jarrett suddenly becomes Geno Atkins and beats Seattle's LG like an edge rusher or something. Just a bit too slow to get to Wilson before he throws it.

Play 6: 1st and 10 on the SEA 12. 1TE, 1RB. Pass play. Same defensive alignment & personnel as play 5. They tried to double Grady but he was too quick for their LG and beat him to the inside before the LT could even reach him. Hageman was single blocked by their C. Jimmy Graham was probably supposed to at least CHIP Freeney on this play but Freeney had a clean shot at RW3 and forced him to throw it away early.

Play 7: 2nd and 10 on the SEA 12. 1TE, 1RB. Run play. Same defensive personnel but the TE moves from left to right so Grady shifts inside to 1 tech, I'm guessing Hageman was supposed to kick out to the 3 spot but he didn't. Hage got doubled on this but both he AND Jarrett got put on skates and a gigantic hole got opened up in the middle for a nice gain for Seattle. Possibly a miscommunication but really just a bad play from both DTs.

Play 8: 3rd and 2 on the SEA 31. 1TE, 1RB. Run play. Same defensive personnel & alignment as plays 5 & 6. Hageman gets doubled briefly but the RG gets off the block quickly to get to the second level and the C puts Hageman on his ***. Beasley blows the play up in the backfield and Jarrett blew up the potential cutoff lane, shutting the play down completely. -1 yard.

Play 9: 2nd and 6 on the ATL 8. 1TE, 1RB. Pass play. Hageman at 1 tech on the defensive right, Babs at 3 tech on the left, Reed at RDE, Beasley at LDE. Reed beats the LT off the snap and gets in Wilson's face immediately. Hageman ended up getting single blocked by the LG, and was about to beat him to the outside when Wilson scrambled to his side, at which point he disengaged and started pursuing Wilson. Wilson throws it away, incomplete.

Play 10: 1st and 10 on the SEA 33. Empty set. Pass play. Same defensive personell & alignment as play 9. Shede got handled by the LG and the C was there if he tried to beat said LG to the inside. Not really a full double team but easily could have been. Jarrett beat the RG to the inside but RW3 got rid of the ball very quickly so nobody got pressure.

Play 11: 2nd and 4 on the SEA 38. 1TE, 1RB. Pass play. Hageman playing 2 tech, head up on the LG, with Grady at 3 tech on the left side of the defense. Vic at LDE , Freeney at RDE. Shede pushes the LG into RW3's lap, Vic beats the RT to the inside off the snap, Grady beats the RG to the outside and loops around Vic and the RT. Grady ends up chasing RW3 (Vic threw his arm up calling for a hold on the RT) and Wilson's 4.55 speed is just too much for Grady so he takes off and ends up with 8 yards and a 1st down.

Play 12: 1st and 10 on the SEA 20. Empty set. Pass play. Hageman at 1t on the defensive right, Grady at 3t on the left, Vic (left) and Freeney (right) rushing from DE. Shede double teamed, but pretty much everyone got stonewalled by the OL on this play. Vic got closest to Wilson but it took a while because he was going for a stunt and got cut off. Just a bad play for the DL all together.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...