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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

OL Theory: Quantity Over All Else

There's plenty going around about linemen this year, including a
suggestion from Mike Mayock about guard Chance Warmack going #1 overall.
It's a risky suggestion, honestly. There's no doubt that, per snap, an
elite lineman can provide as much as any other player for impact. There
was a suggestion that the line was what killed Andy Reid in
Philadelphia.

Which brings me to a point of contention - with Carolina already using
two elite-level contracts on linemen, and the parallel of the Eagles
having paid heartily all five linemen in one form or another.

Is it better to have five incredible linemen, or have three plus four
guys fighting for the rest? In other words, does a team like Philly -
who had a lot invested in a good line, that one by one got hurt, hurt
themselves by not being able to invest in depth? Competition can be
depth - not always, of course, you could have a good player win and
trash backing him, or trash v/s trash fighting for a job, I guess in a
worst case scenario. And, there's nothing that says you can't back up
high paid vets with quality. But, in the Eagles' case, it didn't work.
Yes, Philly's issues are a worst-case. But you have to be prepared for
that, and they weren't. They had five guys, and guys 6-9 on the roster
weren't good. So off the street, that gets even worse.

So is it better to have a Geoff Schwartz, a modest priced guard/tackle
for the right side, paired with a later pick, than to anticipate a
Warmack? It seems so. Would Warmack tend toward greatness? Quite
possibly. Is depth better? I'm tending toward yes. That two
incredible linemen and a lot of growth/depth/ability is better than five
guys and that's all you get.

To that end, just philosophically, I'm suggesting that without the
burden of being on the clock at pick 14 or knowing who's left, it might
still be better to take a guy you might get 70% of snaps at DT, and yet
help resolve that pick first, and pour numerous picks into OL after.
Is one guard, or the more valuable tackle instead, going to help?
Assume yes. But if you can get a vet cheaply, and a later guard AND
tackle, that feels just as good.


Either way, you always have to drop picks on offensive linemen. Every
draft. Early and often. That saves this problem one way or another.
In this case, I don't find that quality will necessarily lack with
quantity.
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