There was a certain thought among Lions followers that perhaps the key to a quick boost on defense would be a temporary or part-time move to a 3-4 scheme, or even using 3-4 principles, which might accentuate a relative strength — linebacker — and reduce a real weakness on the defensive line. Well, you can forget those ideas — it's not going to happen, head coach Jim Schwartz told PFW last month. One reason it doesn't make sense is that the Lions might be going through some personnel changes at linebacker, and the players they have and want to keep in the front seven simply are not great fits in a 3-4. And when you consider the high probability of the team drafting either Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh or Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy, both classic 4-3 tackles, it makes even less sense. No, the Lions will be a 4-3 defense, using a lot of "under" and "even" fronts next season, so their improvement will have to come from better playing and coaching, not a scheme change.
The third issue of PFW's new Draft Newsletter series, focusing on underclassmen in the upcoming draft and an exclusive 20-year analysis of how underclassmen have panned out over the years, is now ready. Produced by PFW's player personnel department under the direction of Nolan Nawrocki, the series consists of four information-packed issues. For more info or to subscribe — click here for PDF e-pub or here for print format. You can also find details about other draft-related publications in the PFW store.