Free Safety-----------------Strong Safety
Sherrod Martin---------------Charles Godfrey
Left Cornerback-------------------Right Cornerback
Chris Gamble---------------------Jonathan Joseph
Outside LB--------Middle LB-------Middle LB-------Outside LB
Johnson/Lawson---Jon Beason-----Dan Connor-----Brown/Norwood
Left DE--------------NT----------------Right DE
Shaun Ellis----------Kelly Gregg---------Tyler Brayton
Safety: Safety is a position that has two promising young players in Godfrey and Martin. Martin has shown flashes at times and seems to have a future as, at least, an average starter for a few years. Godfrey is already playing at an above average level on a team with virtually no pass rush.
Cornerback: Chris Gamble is locked up for a few years and because of that he will probably be the guy at one corner spot. Marshall appears to be on the way out judging from the low tender we gave him in the offseason, and Munnerlyn is nice but seems better in a nickel/special teams role right now. For those reasons, I think the Panthers will look outside for help at corner. Jonathan Joseph is a talented young corner coming off his rookie contract. He has experience playing in a 3-4 and, though expensive, would give us a strong trio at the corner position.
Outside Linebacker: This is probably not going to be super easy. Outside linebacker in a 3-4 is a position where it is difficult to find a premium player, and teams don't let them go when one comes around. Therefore, we would need to make it work with some guys from in house or middle of the road free agents. Strangely enough, we have a few tweener defensive end/linebackers on the roster already. Everette Brown was seen as a 3-4 linebacker by many when he came out two years ago and he may be able to make the change, with the same being true for Eric Norwood. Charles Johnson has also shown a pretty good ability to get to the quarterback this year and may be able to make the change. We may also have to take a look at bargain bin free agents like Merriman (post steroids) and Lawson (pre steroids).
Middle Linebacker: I feel like this is one position where we could actually benefit from the switch. We would have a mix of Beason, Anderson, Davis or Connor and having those guys on the field is always a plus. I'd personally have my money on Beason, our defensive leader, and Connor, a great player against the run when healthy, as being the guys.
Defensive End: I think we would have at least one guy on the roster that can play this position in Charles Johnson, Ed Johnson, Tyler Brayton, or Nick Hayden. The other position would get filled by a free agent, and I think we could get a guy like Shaun Ellis who can play the position and might walk as the Jets have a million free agents this year.
Nose Tackle: I will go ahead and say that I went super upbeat in my projection of Kelly Gregg. I think there is some chance that he could be a cap casualty with the Ravens having his heir apparent in Terrence Cody and that would be fantastic. In all likelihood though, we would end up with some ancient retread (Jason Ferguson? Is he still a person) or some undersized player tasked with an impossible task (Ed Johnson, you ARE Vince Wilfork).
Looking at this, it appears a switch to a 3-4 defense would take either a couple years, or a lot of spending and might not show results for a while. It's a fun idea because our most talented position on defense is linebacker. However, it might be the case that we simply have a number of players that would be great at the middle linebacker position, and a number of other positions (outside linebacker and along the defensive line) that would get worse. It's something to get a little excited because any change after a terrible season is nice, but this particular change might make the defense a little worse before it gets better. Thoughts?
Edited by Stroupe-a-loop, 13 December 2010 - 07:46 PM.