Former Jets Scout Gives Insight on Draft Picks, Switch to 4-3 and 46 Defense
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The Jets have made several moves on the defensive side of the ball, and it looks like they may be endeavoring into a a switch to the 4-3 front. But have they made the right moves to accompany such a switch?
Who better to ask than former Jets scout Connie Carberg, the first-ever female NFL talent scout?
Her work went beyond simply breaking down gender barriers, as she proved that ladies can hang with the guys when it comes to talent evaluation in helping unearth defensive end Mark Gastineau.
On first-round pick, defensive end Quinton Coples:
Coples is a perfect "numbers" guy (height, weight, speed and strength) and by that should have been top 7-8 pick. As has been reported, there's been a question about his motor and football intensity on every play, with him not "dominating" opponents like we'd expect from a draft pick that high. But there are some circumstances that have to be considered when reviewing his work.
Quinton was moved around to different spots on the line from his junior to senior year. At the same time, the scandal involving agents and coaches led to the firing of key coaching personnel as well as head coach Butch Davis. When we see the drop in productivity from junior to senior year, it could certainly account for the stress of a program under a microscope undergoing changes every day.
Whatever the Jets expect to get out of Coples, they can only expect to get it out of him if he is fully motivated. As Connie suggests, though, Rex Ryan could be the perfect man for the job. A defensive-minded coach, and one who players love playing for at that, should have no problem keeping him happy.
On third-round pick, linebacker Demario Davis:
I watched Demario Davis at the combine but we all know that can be "fools gold". Arkansas State wasn't on TV here but YouTube had quite a bit of his work, with his excellent sideline to sideline speed and special teams’ coverage "hits".
He has a passionate personality, while being morally and ethically solid. This isn’t the kid that’ll get picked up for DUI the night before a game. He’s got leadership potential once he proves it on the field. We obviously needed speed on defense, and he brings it, along with a series of other marketable skills (leadership, special teams).
The two traits listed by Connie that are of most importance are his speed and leadership.
The "sideline to sideline speed" Carberg talks about will be vastly important in the 4-3, where linebackers must cover more ground, as the second line of defense isn't as wide as it is in the 3-4.
What's more, Davis could become a replacement for linebacker Bart Scott, who was once seen as the primary leader for the Jets defense from the Will linebacker spot.
It goes beyond just his ability to run and cover (two things Scott came under heavy scrutiny for not being able to do last year), but Davis also has that leadership potential, with testimony by both Connie here and Rex Ryan at a press conference during minicamp.
To close, here are Connie's thoughts on the switch to the 4-3 and increased implementation of the 46 defense:
Rex has always worked with what he had rather than what he wished he had, and the 3-4 allowed for you to disguise more defenses when you may lack some speed or power up front. With many of the new guys, and [defensive tackle Muhammad] Wilkerson in his second year, Rex will be able to employ the 46 defense as well.
This raises an interesting point: While Rex used primarily 3-4 fronts as the Ravens defensive coordinator, there was a mix of 4-3 as well. When Rex took over from former Jets head coach Eric Mangini, he took over what had been constructed as a 3-4 defense. Rex maximized the effectiveness of the personnel and has slowly pieced together a formidable 4-3 front.
But who will line up where?
I see the front four as being Coples and [defensive end Calvin] Pace on the outside, with Wilkerson on the inside. The other inside player could be a mix of [defensive tackles] Sione [Pouha], [Mike] Devito, [Marcus] Dixon, and [Kenrick] Ellis. If [linebacker] Bryan Thomas is able to rebound from his Achilles injury, he could be in this group as well.
One of the wildcards will be Maybin (with added weight/bulk) able to sustain more than just 3rd-down passing attempts. Coach Dunbar may make a big difference in our ability to pressure the QB with 4, then the blitz really becomes effective.
If Demario Davis steps into a starting role on Defense, then he, All-Pro David Harris and the newly slimmed and obviously reenergized Bart Scott should be a solid linebacker class.
To learn more about Carberg's rise through the scouting ranks, read this interview with NYJetsOverThePond.com. There will be more posts later this week with information from the email exchange with Carberg.
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