Firstly I should thank oompaloompa for this fan shot.
This post is based on the article.
The article is a very nice read.
It tells how the spread of spread offense in college is adversely affecting the line play. It tells how less and less players have good technique and thus leading to the dominance of defensive lines.
That got me thinking. High school football programs primarily run spread offense as it is. So I would assume, historically, kids are highly recruited based on their gifted athletic ability rather than their grasp of technique. Historically, these athletically gifted kids are recruited to be taught technique in college. Those who learn and produce go on to excel. Those who dont learn remain just athletically gifted.
Now the most gifted athletes would naturally want to go to the most successful college programs, irrespective of the system they operate. Before, when a lot of college programs used to run pro-style offense, these gifted athletes would by default go to these programs, acquire the technique and a good no.of them would be ready for NFL. This would explain a high no.of of left tackles who go in the top 10 for a long long time.
Now, the good college programs are adopting spread offense. These gifted athletes still go to these programs. In a way, with respect to NFL, there is a wastage of talent. Lot of these gifted athletes could have gone to pro-style programs but instead they are, in effect, wasting their 3-4 years which they could have used to master the tecnhniques of playing their position. This would naturally result in less no. of players being nfl-ready.
When a player is taken in top 15 in the draft, the player is expected to be nfl-ready or atleast be ready by the end of the first season. But when a player is only athletically gifted but lacks 4 years of experience in pro-technique, it would be unfair to expect the player to produce. Pretty soon the calls of bust will start to add more pressure.
This could probably explain, why Nix felt there were only 2 LTs worth taking in the draft. Why Bulaga might turn out to be good eventually but not worth taking at no.9 in the draft. And again why picking a player (Wang) known to have some athletic ability in the 5th round and waiting a couple of years before you start him.
Now the job of teaching these players from the scratch falls on the coaching staff at the organization instead of the college. This again would explain the emphasis of the FO on fundamentals during off-season. And asking the linemen to focus on technique a big chunk of time during practice.
This again could explain why the OTs are graded so low in the next years draft. Looking at the trend from this year and next year, there seems to be a decline in supply of good OTs, speculatively due to lack of technique. I would predict LTs, though the most important position on OL, wont be picked so high in the future unless the college trend changes.
This could also explain the rotation on the Oline during regular season games. How else do you expect to gain 3 years of pro-style experience that was supposed to have been learnt in college sitting on the bench? You have to get whatever reps you get. I saw quite a few fans could not explain the reason for this and were disturbed by it.
Again, this is all assuming that the FO is competitive and progressive in its thinking. But it is nice to dream that we might be front-runners in something.