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The Return of the Fullback

by Terry Matthews  |  @Gridironalytics |   Published Nov 11, 2018

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5 Under-the-radar signings

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by Terry Matthews  |  @Gridironalytics |   Published Sep 1, 2018

The Return of the Fullback  |  Gridironalytics 5 under-the-radar signings of the 2018 off-season  |  Gridironalytics

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Top 8 3-Techniques in the 2019 NFL Draft

by Terry Matthews  |  @Gridironalytics   |  Published November 24, 2018

The 3-technique is one of the best paid positions* in football, and the consensus best defensive player in the league, Aaron Donald, has been wreaking havoc for years out of 3-tech. So, needless to say, as the next wave of natural 3-techniques arrive out of college into the big league, you’re going to want to know who’s who. The following is our top 5 players at the position entering the Draft in 2019.


*[The 3-technique is more about how and where an interior D-lineman lines up than an actual position outright, however more and more the “3-technique” tag has come to mean a capable interior pass-rusher, someone who will often play in different techniques across the line of scrimmage, but will still be referred to as a “3-technique”]


8.  Rashan Gary  |  Michigan

Gary probably projects better as an edge-setting bully based on his physical profile, but he also retains plenty of upside as a interior disruptor, employing all that athleticism to out-work and over-power opponents. Still has developing to do, especially refining his handwork, and could add levels to his pass-rush if he really is deployed inside, but in terms of size and raw power, Gary projects as an easy convert to the interior.

7. Christian Wilkins  |  Clemson

Wilkins perfectly fits the power 3-technique prototype, with the kind of physical upside and work ethic that often makes him unblockable against the pass, and a force to be reckoned with on running downs. Was routinely double-teamed in college, despite being on one of the strongest D-lines college football has ever seen, and yet was still able to consistently fight through blocks and get pressure. With Wilkins you're getting a guy with the athletic versatility to play as an attacking 3-technique; off the edge where his surprising speed and raw power often proved too much for college offensive tackles to cope with; or even helmet-to-helmet against the centre out of the 1-technique. This is the kind of all-purpose skillset that should ensure he's an early day 1 pick

 6. Dexter Lawrence  |  Clemson

Lawrence might weigh in at 350lb come the Combine but don't let his size fool you, as if you weren't aware of his weight before seeing him play, you probably wouldn't have guessed he was that heavy – as it really is no kind of encumbrance to his play or the intensity he can bring. Generates the kind of power you imagine an athletic 340lb+ player should, with a devastating bullrush, and the sort of strength that allows him to swipe opponents out of his path. His size ensures he has the versatility to play anywhere inside, and his long-term future might be at 1-technique, where his ability to draw double-teams and still provide pressure up the middle will be seen as hugely valuable.   

 5. Jerry Tillery  |  Notre Dame

Disruptive menace from the interior, Tillery plays with good intensity and effort, using his pace, power and a solid repertoire of pass-rush moves to continually marshal pressure against the quarterback. Rangy athletic build, he stands 6-6, with arm length that reaches over 33-inches, but possesses excellent core strength, dropping anchor when required, and continually showing fight to work through blocks against the run.

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4. Dre’Mont Jones  |  Ohio State

Unnatural pace and quickness for a D-lineman, Jones boasts superb athletic upside, which should translate well to the NFL. Possesses the skillset to play anywhere along a 40-front, or the 5-tech role in  3-4, but his best spot is certainly from the 3-technique in a 4-3 where his quickness and ability to convert it to power resembles some of today’s hyper-athletic breed of NFL interior D-linemen, who are re-writing how the position is played.  

3. Gerald Willis  |  Miami

Highly polished 3-technique who does everything associated with the role to a very high standard. Superb get-off and elite swat move consistently allows him to get backfield penetration. College stats don’t jump off the page, but Willis has so much about his game that’s high level that its not as much of a knock as it would be with other players. Also anchors well against the run and shows he can be an every-down contributor, but its definitely what he can do versus the pass that’s going to get Willis drafted in the first- or early-second round.

2. Ed Oliver  |  Houston

The Ed Oliver hype train has been in full swing for ages now, and rightly so for a D-lineman as athletically gifted as Oliver. He has that diminutive edge to his physicality (weighs under 290lb, though some sources claim he’s much lighter than that), much like an Aaron Donald, Warren Sapp or John Randle – three of the best 3-techniques to ever play the position, who were all accused of being too-small-to-play-inside at some point, but all of whom went on to re-write (or are re-writing) how the position can be played. Now we're not quite saying Oliver is at the level of a Donald or a Sapp, but he does share some of the phenomenal natural athleticism of those guys. His game hinges to a large extent on the mismatch his speed gives him, with anyone trying to block him often simply unable to deal with his quickness – this on top of the fact he's facing double- and even triple-teams a lot of the time! As already stated, he is light for the position, and that is going to be a knock on him; it will be telling to see what he weighs in at come the Combine. That said, based on Oliver's college tape, he's more than convinced most people that he has all it takes to continue being a stud in the pros.

  1. Quinnen Williams  |  Alabama

Williams will be a lot of people's pick as the top 3-technique coming out of college this year. He basically came from nowhere in 2018 to propel himself into contention as a possible #1 overall pick – which is no mean feat! Some of his performances this year have been utterly dominant, when he continually left blockers sprawling and clawing at air, illustrating how developed his game is. Gets out of the blocks as quickly as anyone playing the interior in this draft class, smashing through gaps and duking into the backfield to blow up plays. Also has the raw power to bullrush and man-handle O-linemen when he needs to. If not for the seeming unending conveyor belt of D-line talent being produced at Alabama, we probably would have heard of Williams before now – and realized how good he actually is. That said, and to his credit, he’s really only needed a single year to do that. As of writing, a lockdown top 5 pick.