2012 NFL Free Agency: Putting Together a 4-3 Defensive Front

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2012 NFL Free Agency: Putting Together a 4-3 Defensive Front
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The 2012 NFL free-agency market contains some ideal building blocks for those looking to construct a stout 4-3 base. Players like Houston Texans star Mario Williams and Detroit Lions youngster Cliff Avril represent the most coveted prospects as natural edge-rushing defensive ends.

While hard-tackling, intelligent linebackers like Cleveland Browns' D'Qwell Jackson and Atlanta Falcons defensive linchpin Curtis Lofton are ideal fits for the role of the 4-3's chief playmaker, the mike linebacker.

The advantages of a defense that was first invented and utilised in the pro setting are clear. Roles are more clearly defined in a 4-3. Linemen attack, linebackers and safeties read. It is a more simplistic system than the 3-4, but its effectiveness can be just as overwhelming.

Both the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins have signaled their intentions to switch to a 4-3 in 2012. The success of the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants' ferocious four-man line has returned some of the lustre to the 4-3.

The possibilities are endless for any defense that can consistently rely on a four-man rush. Here is a quick guide to assembling a 4-3 defensive front from this year's free-agent class.

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