The Significance of “Scheme Versatility” and Other Points of View


“Top needs: OL, DT, CB, OLB
“Summary: The top needs I saw for the Bears were on the offensive line and along the defensive interior, where they’ve had some recent attrition. [GabeCarimi was a great value that late in Round 1, and is a player that can be moved along the line (presumably to right tackle) to help right away. [StephenPaea isn’t a guy who will get a lot of penetration, but he’ll help the Bears’ linebackers avoid blockers. They also added some safety help, and took a shot on [NathanEnderle, a kid with a big arm who could develop behind Jay Cutler. I don’t see Enderle as a starter, but a backup is a nice thing to have, and backup quarterback was actually a need position for the Bears, particularly given all the hits Cutler takes. Solid draft for the Bears, who got to get back in the early mix this year.”

  • John Mullin at gives his thoughts on the Bears draft:

“But they again selected a safety in the third round (Chris Conte of California) and later added a quarterback (Nathan Enderle of Idaho in the fifth), which many considered luxuries the club couldn’t afford.”

Jensen does a good job of reviewing the up coming (some day) free agency period mentioning a number of possibilities including some name wide receivers.

  • John Mullin at asks a very good question: “Where does new Bears defensive tackle Stephen Paea play?” He’s big enough to play nose tackle:

“But 4-3 teams do not often trade two draft choices for purposes of moving up to grab a nose tackle. What the Bears gave themselves with Paea is options in the form of someone who could play either tackle position. A nickel unit with Melton and Paea paired inside is potentially a better interior rush tandem than the Bears have had in several seasons.”

As Mullin implies, Paea may find himself moving between the inside and the three technique depending on the situation. But I’m not sure that’s how the Bears are going to roll. They like to rotate guys in and out and given thelimited number of snaps they’ll probably want to leave Paea at one position. But the possibility of moving him around is intriguing.


“He prefers a quarterback meet these seven criteria before selecting him high in the draft: More than a three year starter; has started 30 games; has won 23; has thrown at least two touchdowns for every interception; has completed 60 percent of his passes; is a senior; is graduating.

    “Which quarterbacks held up from the class of 2011? Andy Dalton and Ricky Stanzi. Greg McElroy was three starts shy of qualifying.”

    • The minute I saw Michael Irvin on the set of the NFL Network during the first round, I know I wan’t going to be able to stomach it for more than short doses. So I think it is unfortunate that the ESPN broadcast was also subpar.

    Did anyone else think that Mel Kiper and Jon Gruden talked less than usual between picks? I thought Chris Berman was going to go horse from having to fill so much. I don’t get it.

    “‘[Vikings first round pick] Christian Ponder is Elvis Grbac,’ Dilfer said. ‘He’s Elvis Grbac. Elvis Grbac was a beautiful thrower. He threw for 4,000 yards. He did a lot of nice things. Every time it got tough, he melted.'”

    Peyton Hillis being named cover boy of Madden 12 by a vote of fans is more evidence why Pro Bowl voting should be done by professionals.”

    As long as they don’t decide to do it like the Hall of Fame…

    One Final Thought

    Mullin also makes a point I’ve been thinking about. The Bears like to claim that good players who fit their scheme are falling to them because of the popularity of the 3-4 around the NFL:

    “Fronts in 3-4’s typically employ space-eaters, 320 pounds or bigger, even the ends.

    “That then leaves a talent like Paea, at 6-1, 305 pounds, available for a scheme like the Bears. Same with a Melton, who now is up to more than 290 pounds.”

    There’s a point to be made here but I think its become less true this year not more. The buzz word I heard dozens of times over the course of the draft is “scheme versatility”.  Defensive coordinators are starting to play multiple fronts and move their personnel around more to create mismatches. This is starting to break the mold of the typical player fitting one scheme. The Washington Redskins are a good example. Their first round pick, Ryan Kerrigan, is a bit undersized for 3-4 defensive end and not really athletic enough for outside linebacker. I thought he was really a better fit for defensive end in a 4-3 scheme. But the Redskins drafted him for the 3-4 anyway, probably figuring they could take advantage of his traits in multiple ways in different situations. That’s the trend.

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