I see all these position profiles flying around the site, and I wanted to get in on the fun. So I'm picking a position that, depending on your own feelings, is either set, or in trouble. I'll take a look at who we have, who's available in free agency, and who could be picked up via the Draft. I'll also look at both sides of the Joey Porter Trade Idea that's been circulating around here for a couple weeks.
First, let's take a look at what we already have. The starting OLB's were Joey Porter and Matt Roth. Charlie Anderson also played a pretty big role as a rotation guy. Quentin Moses didn't see much action as a reserve. Then there's the two special teamers, William Kershaw and Erik Walden. Kershaw will be going into his 3rd year, and Walden his 2nd. So here's a quick look at their production from the '08 season.
Porter and Roth played just about every snap at the OLB spots last season, and they did a solid job overall. Roth was good in the run game, but lacked any kind of consistent pass rush and didn't look very comfortable in coverage, which should be expected from a converted DE. Porter was spectacular early in the season rushing the quarterback, but after the 49ers game, when he closed the game out with a sack, he didn't get to the QB again. He hit a wall and looked like he didn't have the same explosiveness that he exhibited in the beginning of the year. Overall Grade - B
Now for the Free Agents. There are a few enticing options that may hit the market, and as of right now don't have contracts signed. We could upgrade the position instantly by bringing in one of these guys and sticking them in the rotation.
Dansby and Scott both played ILB this season, but both possess the ability to make the move to the outside, as well as bounce back and forth when needed. Peppers is a 4-3 end with the physical ability to stand up and play the OLB position in a 3-4. Suggs is the best of the 4, but will likely be one of the most expensive, and may end up being franchised by the Ravens. Peppers can get more money as a DE, and will either be franchised, or cash in bigtime as an End. I don't think we can afford to bring him in. Of the two remaining, I think Dansby is the most attractive option, because he's a year younger, and will come cheaper than Scott. Although we saw how a relative unknown in Calvin Pace got a huge payday last offseason. It's more than likely we don't end up with any of these guys, but I think we should definitely make a run at Dansby if he hits the market.
As for the draft, I think this is the place where we will find our next Stud OLB. There should be a few guys available when our first rounder comes up, at pick 25, and we would also have the opportunity to nab a guy later in the draft. I'll start with the first rounders.
In Round 2, there will still be talented OLB's available.
I have a sleeper guy for Day 2 as well.
So there's a lot of options for us to pursue at the OLB position this offseason, and I have to believe that Parcells will address it at some point. There's also the prospect of trading Joey Porter while his value is at its highest. It's only an idea that's been kicked around here for a couple weeks, and there is no actual speculation from the team or the big media outlets that it could happen, but it's a good debate and both sides can make a good argument. I'm on the side that believes we can get a pretty good haul, at least a 2nd rounder and another pick, possibly 2 2nd's. But that's something we'll be able to discuss for a while because there's no indication it's even being mulled over by our Front Office at this point.
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