Originally Posted by ZONA
We shall see. I think Ayers was just starting to come on last year. Sometimes it's really hard to shine when you are rotation material. Sometimes, you need that chance to be the full time starter. We saw that last year in Woodyard. Whether it's an injury or suspension to the starter, sometimes you don't know exactly what you have until you see a guy get those starter reps in practice and get the full time reps in games.
Ayers has an excellent DE build at 6'3 275 and has a really good first step. He only did 18 reps at his combine so not sure if that's gone up but I would say with adding the weight he has and being in an NFL training program for several years I would say that's probably gone up to about 23-25 reps. I think he's strong enough. Not as quick as Doom and his speed rush is not as refined as Doom's was. But he does play hard and he does get good pressure. It's just that in spot duty, he really didn't get all the way there on a regular basis. But I've said this before and it's worth repeating. You don't have to lead the league in sacks, as a player, or as a defense, to be great. If I'm not mistaken, the Ravens and the 49'ers were both average in total team sacks this year. Don't get me wrong, sacks are excellent. But getting 3rd down stops and goal line defense are much more important. I think this defense has a chance to improve in both those areas and I think they will. We might take a small dip in sacks, but I think the overall defense will be just as good if not improved.
With Wolfe's improvement this year between he and Ayers we will get the extra 11 sacks from last year beyond what Wolfe and Ayers contributed last year to make up for Doom on that front.
But dont forget Von is likely to push for 22 to 24 sacks this year with the added sync with Wolfe who is setting that edge and pushing the pocket as well.
Plus with Ayers and Wolfe not to mention Vickerson and Terrance collapsing the pocket much better than last year with a second season for Vickerson under JDR and Knighton already well seasoned in JDR defense, this will lead to significant improvements in over all Dline performance on both passing and running downs.
We were going to have a significant step up this year, Doom or no Doom. Without Doom we just have to go about it in a slighty different way, and should see dividends in better run game performance as well as short yardage and goal line work than with Doom in there.
Von will add more sacks as he continues to rocket up through the beginning peak years of his special talent as well, and Wolfe I think is gonna bust out in a big way this year.
We will add at least one more real player in the first three rounds in the draft along the Dline .. or maybe just at Middle linebacker. Malik Jackson will contribute as well in rotation. Im not worried much about our defense front seven.
Irving could grab the MLB job and not let it go for years, Steve Johnson is coming on as well and Bradley was a good cover LB for the Eagles so we have some options there.
Woodyard will be further improved after a year as a starter and we have his capable backup in his Kentucky buddy now with a year under his belt who will be pressing Woodyard starting this year.
The key is getting development and production out of prior draft years and not just expecting to hit a home run with each new drafted player this year. It takes time for most guys to hit their stride and to give up too soon and look for the next super man in the draft is short sighted and a prescription for failure long term.
We need another decent Corner as well as hope that Bolden is ready to rumble this year, and a safety plus a solid banger RB and we are set for a couple Lombardi runs.