Switching to a 4-3? The Linebackers
While the Lions did run more four-man fronts this season compared to Patricia’s first two, this roster was put together with 3-4 principals and the players reflect that.
Below I’ll give a short summary of what each player may or may not bring to both schemes. Followed by a ‘Transition Grade’ to gauge how flawless a switch to a 4-3 base may or may not be. The higher the grade the easier the transition.
- (A) switch would help, a lot
- (B) switch would help
- (C) switch wouldn’t matter
- (D) switch would hurt
- (E) switch would hurt, a lot
Let’s see what a transition might mean with all those Quinntricia scheme-fits …
Austin Bryant (6-5, 263lb)
Bryant has been most successful when positioned as split wide-EDGE with fewer, or smaller, bodies to tie him up. He really struggles when contested, therefore, he will never be a successful true defensive end in either scheme until he can show the ability to shed NFL blockers.
Bryant has a sub-package role in either defense but best fits as a situational big 4-3 outside linebacker where he could line up in the ‘wide-nine technique’ with a defensive end tying up the tackle. Here he would have less traffic to quarterback and/or be able to stunt-crash inside or crash down latterly on the rusher.
Transition Grade: B- (switch would help)
Jamie Collins Sr. (6-3, 255lb)
Collins is a freak athlete and the ultimate swiss-army knife at linebacker, for any scheme. He has the strength and explosion to be an on-ball pass-rushing 3-4 outside linebacker, the speed to be an off-ball 4-3 coverage linebacker, and anything in between.
End of story.
Transition Grade: C (switch shouldn’t matter)