Jets can't draft too many safeties

Core scheme needs for Jets, Steelers, Bengals, Saints and Redskins

Originally Published: April 4, 2013
By Andy Benoit | Football Outsiders
Rex RyanWilliam Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY SportsRex Ryan has some holes to fill on defense through the draft this year.

Generally, when analyzing team needs, the thinking is, "Team A has a hole at position X, so Team A should draft the best X they can." This is logical, but it can be overly simplistic.

What must be taken into account is what we'll call a team's "pillar need." A pillar need is a need that a team has perpetually because of specific but important characteristics of its scheme and philosophy. A lot of times, there isn't a dire necessity for new talent at a "pillar need" spot, but with depth there being extra important, teams will restock the position anyway -- especially with mid- and later-round picks. Understanding a team's pillar needs leads to a clearer understanding of the team as a whole.

With that said, let's examine the pillar needs for the New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Redskins and New Orleans Saints.

New York Jets

Pillar need: safety

You look at New York's defense right now and alarms sound when your eye spots the holes at outside linebacker. Aside from journeyman backup Antwan Barnes, not a single Jet has meaningful NFL experience at this position. No coach, including Rex Ryan, can run a 3-4 scheme with lousy outside linebackers.

Perhaps more troublesome, though, is New York's situation at safety. Right now, penciled in to start are last year's sixth-round pick, Josh Bush, and seventh-rounder Antonio Allen. Needless to say, the depth behind these unknowns is iffy.


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