With specialization and sub-packages prevalent in the modern NFL, which positional tweeners stand out as potential values in the 2019 NFL Draft?
The modern NFL has become a league of mismatches and specialization positionally. There is less of an emphasis on the term “all-around football player”, seeming to be replaced by “gadgets” and “cogs”. Sub-packages and “specialists” now rule the NFL landscape, or at least have cemented their position amongst the league.
We see an increased value in third down pass rushers who may only play a hand full of snaps, but end up making some of the largest impact from a game to game sequence.
On top of that trend, Saints head coach Sean Payton has taken that mismatch athlete even a step further with the creation of backup quarterback/receiver/gadget-player/special-teamer Taysom Hill. The ability to threaten the opposition in more than one area is allowing teams to save roster spots off of specialization.
For a player like Hill, he is occupying a roster spot to back up the most important position in all of sports, while allowing for playmaking in multiple other spots and the ability to play on special teams.
When observing the 2019 NFL Draft class, evaluators are tasked with projecting players and traits to the best spot in order to help their respective football team. Aside from fitting into the team culture, players must be the right fit schematically to the offensive or defensive styles of play.
The league is no longer a cut-and-dry, black-and-white entity. Thresholds have become less and less important. Quarterbacks no longer have to be 6-2 at minimum. Cornerbacks no longer have to be over 5-10. Offensive linemen no longer have to be 6-5 with 33.5-inch arms. Times have changed, and are continuing to change.
While most evaluators are busy weeding out what can not fit, what is possibly more exciting is how certain skill sets can fit. Let’s take a look at several players who have tweener traits but endless possibilities. Will they last in the NFL? No clue, but man I’m excited to see just how they fit. Welcome to my Island of Misfit Toys in the 2019 NFL Draft.