LeBeau, the man responsible for the NFL 3-4
Here we are football fanatics at the beginning of July and while there is no CBA in place, one cannot help but focus on the impending free agent market. So as you sit surrounded by the sounds of patriotic celebration, I offer this list of players looking to make some noise of their own in 2011.
Dick LeBeau has often been referred to as the man responsible for bringing the 3-4 defense to the NFL. He has mastered the scheme that has led to multiple championships and a place in Canton. While the 3-4 defense has declined in use in the modern NFL, with the influences of coach LeBeau and the like it is sure to never disappear.
Aubrayo Franklin will never be known for his ability to get to the opposing QB. What Franklin is known for is his ability to get to the runner and put him on the ground. Last season he notched 39 tackles (38 of which were solo).
With the trend in the NFL leaning towards faster, stronger, and most notably younger players solid veterans are becoming hard to find. For teams making the transition to the 3-4 or for those that need to fill a hole, Aubrayo Franklin could be yours if the price is right.
Stephen Bowen in short is a force to be reckoned with along the defensive front. He is a running back gobbling DE that lives to make life difficult for any opposing offense.
Last year he amassed 22 tackles with 4 stuffs and even though he is becoming a little long in the tooth, teams looking to prepare on a limited schedule due to the current status of the CBA would do well to employ his services.
At 6' 7" 310 lbs Tony Mcdaniels presents not only a sizeable force along the defensive front he has the strength to back it up. Due to his incredible strength he often takes on opposing players much heavier than he and more often than not he has to do it 2 at a time.
Although there has been some character concerns with the 6 year veteran his play as of late would lead people to believe that maybe that portion of his life is behind him. If he can stay out of trouble he could be a valuable asset to any team looking to employ a new 3-4 defender.
In east Rutherford NJ, if you chear for the green and white the name Shaun Ellis is synonymous with defense. After an impressive 16 year career Ellis has racked up numbers worthy of HOF mention. Over the course of his career he has totaled 552 tackles 72.5 sacks and forced 13 fumbles.
After a career full of great seasons and individual achievements Ellis is looking for the title that has eluded him thus far, Super Bowl champion. For teams out there (including the NYJ) that are looking for that one piece to put them over the top, the solid production from the seemingly indestructible Ellis could be the answer.
Ray Edwards is, I admit, a reach for a 3-4 defense. For the scheme Edwards lacks the typical mass of your prototypical 3-4 defensive end. But much as the Denver Broncos found out with the transition of Elvis Dumervil in the 2009 season (49 tackles 42 solo league-leading 17 sacks) moving an end to outside linebacker can have disastrous effects on opposing offenses.
Admittedly this would be a risk but with great risk comes great reward. Edwards has the talent, ability, and intelligence to play in any scheme the only thing left is for the right team to take the risk.
This of course is just this writers opinion, what's yours? Drop a line below and I will answer any and all questions and comments as soon as possible and as always, thanks for posting.