Originally posted by eonblue:
Originally posted by GhostofFredDean74:
Agreed...in the 49ers scheme, NTs are more role players than anything else, plugging gaps, tying up o-lineman and just battling in the trenches. They don't ask them to get much pressure or even make many plays.
So I think the smart way to go is to re-sign RJF (scheme familiarity and proven contributor), have Ian Williams back him up (he's been on the 53-man roster the last few years, that has to mean they see some potential in him) then draft a developmental player behind those two, probably somewhere in rounds 3-5.
I'd then draft a 3-4 DE in the first to learn from and eventually replace Justin Smith. The money players are the LBs and the 3-4 DEs, so that's where I'd make my biggest investments.
I disagree with both of you fundamentally. Where the scheme may not ask the NT to pressure doesn't mean they wouldn't want the NT too. We don't have a dominant NT but if we did.they would surely scheme for him. Not to mention ut would b nice to have a NT that can break a double team that would free.up every one else. My point is the lack of involvement at NT isn't because they don't want it but because they don't have a NT worth scheming around. I'm telling you if we could find a dominant NT this defense would b the next level.
Three things I would point to in support of my view:
1.) They haven't brought in any new talent AT ALL over the last few years to really challenge Soap or RJF, so they must like the way those two go about their business and how their talents fit the scheme they've installed
2.) The results over the last few years (2nd in points allowed/4th in total yards allowed in 2011, 2nd in points allowed/1st in total yards allowed in 2012) seem to indicate that the personnel style/types are working just fine
3.) What neither of us know for sure (other than what we see) is what is required of the NT in this system, since this dictates what kind of player they need. Do they want their NT to penetrate gaps, get up the field and make plays or do they want their NT to clog up the middle and occupy interior blockers, thus allowing others to make plays? Yes, you'd ideally want your NT to have the skills to do both, but that's a rare skill in one package.
What I see is this: because it's asking a lot of the NT to stuff the run, hold the middle and take on multiple interior blockers, it's less wear and tear on a guy if you have a nice rotation. A guy like Soap who has the power and leverage to hold his own against the run, and a guy like RJF to get up the field on passing downs. For this scheme and for how critical they believe it is to stop the run, what I see is that a rotation works really, really well.
But yes, if you can find a dominant, Vince Wilfork type of NT who can do both, you do it...but those are pretty rare. When you can't find that, you create a rotation that plays on the strengths of the different NTs and keeps them more fresh throughout the year.