Jack-of-All-Trades or Master of One: The Modern NFL Defender

June 9, 2016   ·     ·   Jump to comments

There used to be no higher compliment to a player than calling him the "prototype" for his position—but in today's NFL, they don't mass-produce 'em like they used to.
Back in the day, the NFL rejected great athletes for not fitting into the mold of all-around positional excellence. The league regarded so-called tweeners who couldn't do everything well as fatally flawed.
On offense, we've already seen the revolution: quarterbacks at their best on the run; two-, three- and even four-headed running back attacks; specialized receivers who each bring an individual element to an offense. Whether most fans have realized it or not, the old molds we try to squeeze defensive players into have been cracking, even crumbling.
Players with the versatility to play several roles have become prized, even if they're not doing anything at a Pro Bowl level. Players who do one thing well are inserted all over the field to maximize down-to-down matchups on that dominant trait.

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