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NFL Draft: Drafting for the 3-4

Baseball spring training is going on, and my three fantasy league auctions are fast-approaching. The men's and women's NCAA Division I Basketball Tournaments are currently being played out. There’s also a little thing called the NBA where teams are fighting for playoff spots. With all this stuff going on, you’d think I’d be able to stay off football at least until the April 28-29 draft. Impossible.

A while back in our World Almanac E-newsletter, I wrote two small pieces explaining the nuances of the two most commonly used base defenses in the NFL— the 4-3 and the 3-4 alignments. Major sports sites are coming up with mock NFL drafts almost daily, and it seems that different teams' base defenses are getting bigger play when it comes to predicting which college players they'll take. More NFL teams nowadays run the 3-4, which means that there's a bigger market for those “hybrid” players who can fit into the scheme. For a little more on this, click over to this excellent article on NFL.com by analyst Pat Kirwan. He gives a very concise explanation of how different teams employ the 3-4 scheme along with a brief rundown of which college players entering the draft could do well in a 3-4 scheme.

Kirwan's article is well thought out and authoritative, but I often think that the differences between the two schemes are overstated when it comes to personnel. Great football players will play well in whatever scheme they play in. I mean come on, if you were a 3-4 team, would you pass on signing a guy like Brian Urlacher because he plays the "mike" in the 4-3? I didn't think so.

"How prospects stack up from a 3-4 perspective," NFL.com

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