I think this is a good observation. One quick look at our games against SF and SEA early this year, and v. SD in preseason, and we looked like our defenders were in a different, smaller class. Especially so up on the line. We simply do not have a wrecking crew up there, where we need it. I guess we could add CHI and NYG in there too. Different class entirely.
We must add both size and speed in our front 7 this offseason. Especially on the DL. DE has been calling out as a position of need for two years now. Pickett is a DT/NT. I see adding depth at all 3 line positions an absolute must, with quality talent. Add a LB in there too.
I really do appreciate the improved play from AJ Hawk this year, but it looks like he is kind of maxed out in terms of potential, and that is not good. His speed is marginal, and his coverage is worse than that. He made a good number of tackles, but how many of those were stuffs at the line of scrimmage? 9 TFL. 3 sacks. 0 PD. 0 INT. 0 FF. Those numbers in TFL were comparable to those of the SF LBs, better than Patrick Willis' 7 TFL and Novorro Bowman's 6 TFL, and under Ahmad Brooks, who had 12, but his other numbers, namely in pass coverage, were severely lacking.
Willis had 9 pass deflections, 2 INT and 2 FFs.
Brooks had 6 pass deflections, 1 INT and 2 FFs.
Bowman had 6 pass deflections, 1 INT and 1 FF.
Those can all be big game changing plays. Aldon Smith added another INT and a pass deflection to go with an additional 3 FFs. He had 19.5 sacks.
Clay Matthews had 13 sacks, and 11 TFL, which is comparable to Ahmad Brooks. However, he also failed pretty big, like Hawk, in the turnover department, with just 1 FF and 0 INT and a whopping 2 PDs. Looking at this, I think it is pretty telling. That is two players we are really counting on, both R1 picks, and they just didn't create enough dynamic plays for our defense at LB. I'm not even going to look up Walden's or jones' stats there.
Clearly, we need more bigger, faster, more dynamic players at a number of front our 7 positions. I do think Worthy, Daniels and Perry were all promising picks. They may contribute more next season, but we need more, way more. Figure that a larger, more formidable group on our DL could improve our LB play and DB play. I only bring up the LB play to show we were light in the pants there as well. The entire front 7 needs more size and speed.