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- Sep 30, 2004
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- Mountains of Southern Colorado
By Mike Triplett/The Times-Picayune
A few years ago, the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers would have been drooling at the sight of this year's draft class, which is loaded with "hybrid" pass rushers.
When the Patriots and Steelers were the only teams running 3-4 defensive systems, they had their pick of some of the supreme athletes who were considered too small to play defensive end but not athletic enough to play outside linebacker in a traditional 4-3 system.
These days, with as many as 12 teams expected to run at least some 3-4 schemes this year, the competition for first-round prospects Brian Orakpo, Aaron Maybin, Everette Brown and Larry English will be fierce.
"I think there's an awful lot of teams playing the 3-4 defense now, certainly compared to 2000 when I came to New England, " Patriots Coach Bill Belichick said at the NFL Scouting Combine. "Now you have teams in our division, many teams in the AFC, a couple of teams in the NFC. That's made these positions, the outside linebacker position, the 3-4 nose tackle position, very competitive and very unique from the 4-3 complementary spots.
"Scheme has an awful lot to do with how those players are evaluated from club to club."
The biggest winners will be the players themselves.
Full Story - The Times-Picayune