Ok, I’m going to try to concentrate on typing this while at the same time watching Louie (one of the best shows on TV these days). So if I start typing nonsense all of sudden or decide that Jon McGraw should be on this team, you’ll have to forgive me because I’m slightly distracted. So let’s get down to business...
NT - A nose tackle’s best attribute should be the ability to anchor; to stay strong at the point of attack. Basically, he is there to make his teammates better. A nose tackle does not typically put up gaudy stats or make flashy plays, but in my opinion this is the most important position for a 3-4 base defense. He needs to be able to take on double-teams throughout the game. Its also nice to have a nose tackle who can slide over to the defensive end spot if needed.
NT1. Kelly Gregg - Gregg has been in the league for twelve years, eight of them as a starter for the Baltimore Ravens. In his eight years as a starter, Gregg has averaged 62.5 tackles and 2.3 sacks per year. Not bad at all for a nose tackle. He is the Mike Vrabel of the d-line, meaning he is a coach on the field. He is exactly what this young team needs, and he’ll pick up where Vrabel left off.
NT2. Jerrell Powe - I consider myself an NFL draft junkie. This was a guy that I was clamoring for in the mid to late rounds of the 2011 draft, and for good reason. Powe looks good. I mean really good. He’s the size of a house, and he’s strong, athletic and surprisingly quick for a 330 pounder.
NT3. Dion Gales - The reason I picked Gales over Toribio is because Gales has more experience as an end, and he can slide over if need be. The more depth in the front seven, the better.
LDE - A left defensive end should be athletic and quick enough to beat the tight end and the right tackle while stopping the run. He needs the strength and endurance to take on this double-team for at least two downs per series. This is a run-stopper who needs to be capable of making solo tackles (and that should go for every 3-4 defensive line position).
LDE1. Allen Bailey - I am sick of waiting for Tyson Jackson to take steps forward. It seems that Tyson Jackson will not hit his supposed high ceiling and might officially be a bust. That being said, Bailey is the obvious choice here. He is already better than Jackson, in my opinion.
LDE2. Tyson Jackson - Being a backup might actually help Tyson focus on development and take some pressure off of him.
RDE - The right defensive end doesn’t get double-teamed as much as the other defensive linemen in a 3-4 base, so he has a little more freedom to make plays, allowing him to put up slightly better stats than his constituents.
RDE1. Glenn Dorsey - Dorsey barely avoided the “bust” label by having a breakout year in 2010. He had 87 tackles and 2 sacks. He is an absolute beast.
RDE2. Brandon Bair - This is another guy I had my eye on in the late rounds of the 2011 draft. Bair is very athletic and was impressive in training camp.
LOLB - In a 3-4 defense, pressure on the quarterback typically comes from the edge-rushing linebackers (the OLBs). The left side typically gets less sacks than the right because of the tight end occasionally picking up the blitzer.
LOLB1. Andy Studebaker - Stude should start the year here due to his experience, but as the year progresses, his starting status might become tenuous.
LOLB2. Justin Houston - I hope Houston forces the hand of the coaching staff and becomes the starter before the year is over.
ROLB - These linebackers typically line up on the weak side of the front seven in order to have a straight shot at the quarterback. If they can beat blockers in the offensive backfield, they will make a lot of plays.
ROLB1. Tamba Hali - Tambahawk led the AFC in sacks in 2010, and there is no reason to believe he won’t continue to dominate.
ROLB2. Cameron Sheffield - The Chiefs drafted Sheffield last year to be a sack specialist. After missing the entire 2010 season due to injury, its time to see what Sheff can do.
OLB/DE Hybrid. Wallace Gilberry - Wally is a third down specialist who can get after the quarterback. He will be a fan favorite for quite some time.
SSILB - The strong side inside linebacker needs to be your best all-around backer. Admittedly, this is where my knowledge of the 3-4 becomes kind of hazy. When it comes to the difference between strong side and weak side inside backers, I only know the “if” and not the “why”. Forgive me.
SSILB1. Derrick Johnson - In 2010, he finally came out of his shell and had a pro bowl caliber year. 121 tackles, 4 FFs and 1 INT for a TD.
SSILB2. Demorrio Williams - Derrick Johnson Lite. Demorrio can be a playmaker, but its tough to show it when you play behind the 8ball.
WSILB - The weak side inside linebacker will typically tally up a lot of tackle assists. He is the John Stockton to the strong side backer’s Karl Malone.
WSILB1. Jovan Belcher - The starter by default since Brandon Siler is out with an achilles injury.
WSILB2. Micah Johnson - I think I am one of the few Chiefs fans who thinks Johnson has the potential to be a serviceable linebacker. I think he has great raw tools. This is a guy I had my eye on during the 2009 draft.
SS - The strong safety is like a center fielder on the football field. This is the most undervalued position on any given team.
SS1. Eric Berry - Where do I begin? Berry is my favorite player in the NFL, and no one even comes close. He will soon be spoken of in the same breath as Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed. Ok, he pretty much already is...
SS2. Sabby Piscitelli - The former Buccaneer has great speed and will mainly be a contributor on special teams.
FS - The free safety needs to almost act like another cornerback. He has to be able to prevent the big play. He keeps the top on the defense.
FS1. Kendrick Lewis - I’m not quite sold on Lewis, but I think he has some potential.
FS2. Travis Daniels - I know, I know, he is a cornerback. But I think he could better serve this team by switching to free safety. Hey, at least he isn’t Jon McGraw!
CB - In my opinion, cornerback is the second most important position on defense. Take away the ability to pass the ball, and you can be a championship caliber defense.
CB1. Brandon Flowers - He is a lockdown corner. Quarterbacks don’t throw toward Flowers, because those receivers are rarely open.
CB2. Brandon Carr - Carr is a great compliment to Flowers, but he drops too many would-be picks.
CB3. Jalil Brown - Brown is very athletic, very strong, fast enough and he has great size. at 6‘1 205 lbs, Brown is the biggest cornerback on the team.
CB4. Javier Arenas - Javy is one helluvan athlete. He is a tad under-sized, but he packs a punch. I think he is the best kick returner on the team. Last year, time and time again I saw Javy break the first two or three tackles on returns. He is the #2 all time leader in the NCAA in punt return yards, behind only Wes Welker.
Special Teams - The long snapper snaps the ball, the punter punts the ball and the kicker kicks the ball. How’s that for hard-hitting analysis?
LS. Thomas Gafford - I guess he gets the job done. I don’t know much about long snappers.
P. Dustin Colquitt - He’ll do for now, but he’s had some down years lately. He has looked good so far during the 2011 preseason.
K. Ryan Succop - I’m not quite sold on Succop. He has range, (eight 50+ yard FGs in the last two years), but his accuracy took a hit last year.
IR - Brandon Siler is on injury reserve, unfortunately, but I figure I can still talk about him. He would have been the perfect compliment to Derrick Johnson. Siler is a slugger, and he can lay the wood with the best of them. He is well built with strong legs and a wide base to stop the run well.
So there ya go. According to my calculations, that makes 53. You will likely not agree with all of my choices, but feel free to call me an idiot in the comments.