A few of you have objected to my questioning Ryan Pickett's ability to fit as a nose tackle in the 3-4. And yes, the idea of a nose tackle taking up blockers and clearing the way for the linebackers is a valid one and it's something I think Pickett would be decent at. Not great, but decent.
And that's the thing.
We've just suffered through three years of mediocre defensive football. Do we really want a repeat of that? My misgivings when it comes to Pickett playing nose is not in his ability to execute his assignments. He would be fine in that respect. But it's not enough, not for me anyway. The nose and the weakside backer are the two most important positions in the 3-4. I don't want a merely 'adequate-to-get-you-through-the-season' type guy playing at one of the two most important positions. I want a problem for offenses. I want a guy who can not only take on two blockers but also shed them and knife through to make the tackle for a loss. I want a guy who the quarterback is afraid of. Ryan Pickett is a good football player, but he is none of those things.
Now, I hear your objections already and yes, I realize those types of guys are hard to find. But that is Thompson's job, to find the best players he can at every position. I recognize that he may not be able to find someone this offseason, but to simply put up Pickett's name on the board and say 'Done' is haphazard and dangerous. (I don't really think that's what the Packers are doing, but I've been surprised before)
Again, don't mistake my misgivings about Pickett for me doubting his ability. He's a fine football player. But he's not a difference maker, and having one at the nose would help the defense exponentially.
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