IRVING, Texas – Traditionally, these pre-draft press conferences that the teams stage offer little information to use or actually believe.
Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, Tom Ciskowski and Jason Garrett aren't interested in telling us any more than what we need to know. The media ask questions that might provide a little more insight, but there's little chance of getting a true answer.
In fact, you should hope they're as successful in the draft as they were to sticking to that plan, because it worked to perfection. What I did learn from this press conference wasn't which player fits in this Monte Kiffin style of defense best, but which position might be the most valuable to the scheme.
The question was asked: "What's more important in the 4-3 defense; DT or safety?" It really is a good question, because we're still trying to figure out if the right pieces for this scheme change are currently on the squad. I thought the general manager's answer was very interesting:
"I'd say uniquely, the pressure players still have a great deal in the 3-4," Jerry Jones said. "I'd say the inside guys, probably will be a little more quick twitch and especially have the odd, or three-technique will probably be the more dominant players, a Ratliff-type player as far as looking at the players."
By listening to his answer, it told me a couple of things. If three-technique is such an important position and they are looking for a "Ratliff–type" of player, don't they already have their three in him? I believe that they do. I am all for playing Jay Ratliff on the outside shoulder of the guard and letting him attack that gap all day. Where have we seen Ratliff at his best when it comes to rushing the passer? In the nickel, when all he has to do is explode up the field and create all kinds of problems.
Where this team has the question marks is at the one-technique. If Josh Brent wasn't in legal trouble, he would be the ideal fit to play that position, but he isn't here. I like Sean Lissemore, but not as the starter at the one. There were too many times last season where he didn't play with the strength or power that he did the year before. They signed Brian Price this past offseason, but he probably fits more as a three-technique athletically.
Which brings us to the draft. There will be a couple of different options that could potentially help fill that role as the one-technique. North Carolina's Slyvester Williams played both as a one and three. Williams is a step below in the order of Sharrif Floyd, Star Lotulelei and Sheldon Richardson. Purdue's Kawann Short plays with a great deal of power at the point and can be a tough guy to move. LSU's Bennie Logan would be an outstanding option to be paired with Ratliff, because he does a really nice job of getting push inside. He really is a disruptive player that is a load to handle. Penn State's Jordan Hill would also be a nice option because of the way he is able to attack up the field.
What I go back to is what Rod Marinelli said the first time the media got to meet him. He won't know where his "rush men" will line up until he gets them on the field, which is understandable. But in reading into what Jerry Jones said about "Ratliff-like" players and the importance of the position, there is a side of me that believes he feels he has his three-technique but needs to find him some help at the one. That will be his job in a few short days.