Originally Posted by Goldensilence
I've noticed too I've seen Barwin drop back more and haven't seen him set free really as often as last year. I have seen him seen him just miss on sacks this year too though. However, Merciless has been starting to get in on the rotation and I see him in him the backfield a lot just like Barwin last year. Now is he going to be a potential pro bowler? No clue, but clearly OLB was a concern going into last year with the loss of Mario and possibly in preparation of Barwin leaving via FA after a really solid job last year.
The question is going of course money. Physically he just doesn't look like the freak he did last year. Reed and Merciless are going to be steady at OLB at least, but the question is rotation and their respective ceilings.
I doubt we'll see it but I'd really like to see them invest something more substantial on the back end other than Keo and Demps, because I've seen them rotate in and they're vast drop offs from Manning and Quinn. I'm not saying we need pro bowlers but we need guys who have the speed to cover deep and keep better with slot WRs.
OL is going to be a question mark going into next season regardless of how the season ends. Jones ceiling to me seems closer to Brisiel than Hutchinson, but seems to be getting more PT than Caldwell, who is clearly on the way out now. I'd down down for someone like Levitre who would prolly be a good fit for what we're doing here and I was high on him coming out of the draft.
Not sure what to think of Wade Smith this year, but it kind of reminds me of Chester Pitts, when one of your guard spots is struggling you have to add extra help and shift responsibilities. Physically Brooks has what you want in a guard and I can only hope over this season he's learning something.
I dunno about you and I even doubt this is in the realm of possibility, but if I started to see Te'o drop a few spots to the lower top ten I'd be willing to give up some picks to have him and Cush man ILB. It'd make the the middle of this defense 10x better and free up whomever is going to start at OLB.
As a 20+ year ND fan, I'd literally do a back flip if we landed Teo. I know people talk about the Wr position quite a bit and I agree that it should be upgraded, but we HAVE to address the OL and LBs this off season if we want to be a legit SB contenders