Appealing to the kinder nature of you football experts out there, I was batting around defensive line ideas on the off chance I run into Mike Pettine at Wegman's. I want to be prepared when he asks me how to fix his run defense without eliminating the attacking style of his current defense. Since I am relatively clueless, I wanted you all to steer me in the right direction. Trust me, I will remember you for my staff when my football career ignites.
I think (after multiple attempts to draft a capable defensive lineman) Dareus will remain the key component. But I feel like he is a little miscast. In improving the size and stoutness of the line, we have used Alan Branch at DE along with Marcell and Kyle. Would we not be better served drafting or signing a Wilfork-style nose tackle and moving Marcell to 3-4 defensive end? He seems to have the burst to attack from the edge and certainly has the strength to set the edge in the run game. We could present a defensive line of Marcell-NT-Kyle-Mario with Marcell on the strong side where he can absorb run-game double teams from the TE. The NT would swap out for Hughes on passing downs. The whole line could be flipped on those downs, putting Mario on the strong side with Manny outside him and putting Hughes on the weak side to rush. It would compel the TE to stay in to assist or work against Lawson in a pattern, leaving Mario one-on-one. We would retain Branch as interior depth along with Charles.
Of course, all this is predicated on what I feel is one of our top two needs in the off-season: a three down LB to pair with Kiko. Outside of a "joker" tight end which I believe would alleviate a lot of pressure on the passing game, the run defense is the most desperate need. I think backing the above defensive line with Lawson-(maybe) Khalil Mack -Kiko could have some positive results against the run. Bradham could be the primary backup, leaving the need for a decent backup to Lawson.
Basically, the main point of this post is that I feel Marcell Dareus may be better suited at 3-4 DE than at tackle because his agility would come more into play while not diminishing the effect of his power. That switch might dictate much of their off-season approach. What do you all think?