On the offensive line of the football team, there are two guards who stand between the tackles and the center. Guards are mostly concerned with pulling and trapping, and they protect not only the quarterback but also the ball carriers.
High level guard prospects normally have to have one of two qualities: Exceptional base and power- known as “mauler” or “road grader” in the run game, -or- a rare athletic freak that is versatile, able to play center or guard… sometimes even able to play any position on the line. Strong “base” or “Solid Anchor” good for ability to hold up against NFL pass rush.
Mid round guys tend to be more typical build but often have a lot of experience and dependable. Ben Reason, Michigan, John Simpson, Clemson, Methane Multi, Fresno State.
Strong base, solid anchor, good footwork, hand usage, and durability. It is their job to wreak havoc on the offensive side's blocking and passing schemes.
In special instances, such as goal line situations, additional linemen may be brought in or linebackers may move up to the line of scrimmage to stop the short run. It is the job of the defensive line to maintain their original formation, that is even spacing without holes or gaps, and also prevent any members of the opposing offensive line from successfully engaging the linebackers, who chase down the ball carrier.
In a pass play, a good defensive lineman will try to tackle the quarterback, with a sack, or apply pressure to disrupt the throw. On most plays, a defensive lineman holds up a blocker or two, and the linebacker makes the tackle.
It is usually the linebacker that gets all the acclaim, meanwhile, it is the linemen who are holding the line and tiring out the players first. A 3-4 formation uses a nose tackle and a defensive line of three men with four linebackers behind them.
In some situations, running around offensive linemen and avoiding contact may allow a defensive player to put faster pressure on a quarterback, but it also leaves a hole in the defensive line and frees an offensive lineman to engage a linebacker, which can enable a big running play. White took down opposing quarterbacks 198 times in 15 seasons, the second most in NFL history.
He was equally impressive shutting down the run, amassing 1,112 tackles during his Hall of Fame career. Another huge star, Bruce Smith, who played defensive end for the Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins, is widely considered one of the most dominant players in NFL history.
When I first started scouting the 2014 Browns DTS and the 2015 draft and free agent classes, I assigned 1-gap, 2-gap, and pass rush grades. For that reason, I switched to grading Stoutness, Penetration, Pass Rush, and whether the player does better or worse vs.
A lot of what it takes for them to be successful in a 2-gap assignment falls under what I term Penetration: quickness, agility, ability to shed blocks, etc. Nose tackles are asked, in Petting/O'Neil terms, to “change the math at the point of attack”.
They are asked to take on center-guard double teams, to anchor against one blocker and get an arm free to attack a second, to rip laterally through a center's block to engage a guard as well...and to do so without giving up ground. 1 nose tackle stopping 2 offensive linemen in their tracks works wonders for a defense.
Nose tackles with Stoutness of 7 generally get driven 1-3 yards downfield on running plays and struggle to occupy double teams effectively. This results in the widening of the A-gaps (making for bigger holes for running backs) as well as guards releasing into the second level to attack linebackers and safeties.
Commonly, nose tackles that grade 7 in Stoutness have either flexibility/leverage issues or are significantly undersized or have lower body strength limitations. Ones with flexibility issues typically struggle to improve them significantly to develop better Stoutness.
Those who are limited by size or strength while having good bend, however, may have great potential to improve their Stoutness as they develop physically. He's very high with poor leverage and the center is able to get under his pads and drive him 2 yards downfield, despite not getting great hand placement.
(One of the center's arms is outside Davison's frame and even slips off his shoulder pad, yet he has such a leverage advantage he still kicks his butt at the point of attack.) He has his hands full of a single blocker: he's unable to do anything at all to the guard, who releases cleanly to seek and destroy linebackers and defensive backs.
It reminds me of a power forward backing down a defender really hard in the low post and then the defender “pulls the chair” on him: sliding out from under the power forward and causing him to fall and get called for traveling. That's what I would consider a major liability and unsuited to seeing snaps at nose tackle in Petting's base defense.
He gets poor leverage, though, due to playing so upright and is driven off the ball -- and even off his feet -- and pushed downfield. Stoutness = 8 In my grading system, 8 is where something can start to be called an area of strength.
Due to how important it is to the position, a nose tackle with 8 Stoutness generally has starter potential or at very least should be a high quality rotational player. Nose tackles with Stoutness of 8 generally don't get driven much more than a yard downfield on running plays unless they are facing a good double team.
They generally can hold up the line of scrimmage well and provide some interference on a second lineman or a fullback while dealing with their primary blocker. Nose tackles that grade 8 in Stoutness usually have good flexibility and are able to bend their knees to get leverage.
They may have lower body strength or size limitations that hold them back from being even stouter at the point of attack. Some though, have just decent and not great flexibility and get a significant portion of their Stoutness from having a short, squat build.
Compare Warren Herring's Stoutness, bend, and balance in the following examples to that of the players shown above. If the center “pulls the chair” on him, he can push off, sink his hips, and drop his weight backwards to give himself a good chance of staying upright and regaining his balance.
He gets his hands in the center and controls him, establishing a roughly 45-degree angles to the line of scrimmage. Herring gets both because he can get low for leverage while staying balanced over his feet by bending his knees.
Here Herring shows off another benefit of good flexibility: he gets up under his blocker and drives him into the backfield. Adopt a wider stance and/or rotate knees and feet inward to bend lower for leverage.
He's able to get into the guard's body by taking a few wide steps while compensating by maintaining leverage on his inside shoulder. With a simple rip move he's past the blocker to the inside and has maintained his balance.
However, he makes the mistake of turning too far to the backside and is unable to rip in the running back's direction. If he had stayed square to the line while engaging the double team, he could have had the angle to rip toward the ball carrier.
Jordan Phillips, at 6'5”, is another tall DT that understands how to manage his size at nose tackle. They simply don't have much room to improve in this area, while for Herring the sky's the limit here if he can add lower body strength and bulk.
They can fight through a center's block, seek out the guard trying to leak to the second level, and impede his progress. Nose tackles that grade 9 in Stoutness almost always have good flexibility and ability to bend their knees to get leverage.
Some shorter ones don't have elite bend, but their stature confers a portion of their leverage advantage. He doesn't have outstanding flexibility and bend (just good) but he is short, short-armed, thickly-built, and has tremendous lower body strength, giving him leverage advantages.
He may have little trouble being the low man in the battle for leverage, but he's unlikely to initiate contact with offensive linemen due to his lesser reach. In the following play, Parry stacks up the guard and then sheds when he reads that the quarterback has kept the ball.
He shows no difficulty maintaining his balance while getting leverage, staying under control and ready to react to the QB's decision on the zone read. Here Parry gets an outstanding push, with his blocker flailing and falling down in an attempt to get leverage.
He gets too focused on driving his man into the backfield that he leans into him and loses the ability to come off his block. Soundly defeating the block and making the play would be much better than trying to bury the lineman while missing out on a tackle.
Parry's biggest weakness is that he gives up a little ground when blocked in the side by the second man of a double team.