I've come around to being OK with Mapu after initially being dubious that we really needed another Safety/LB hybrid that will need to
make a big jump from College.
One thing I saw Tyler Kyles illustrating was that we have been very vulnerable to crossing routes and that is one of Mapu's specialties. The
clip he showed in evidence of that was very impressive, but.... I really don't understand how he might be deployed in order to plug that particular
hole or if he'll end up doing a redshirt kind of year. I suppose he could substitute in for Bentley or Tavai on passing downs, which makes sense.
I don't want him to be redundant. Not at a 3rd round value.
I'm just hopeful he has something unique and can help quickly, but am going to have to just sit back and see how it plays out.
Here's what I think:
Q: When is a "3-3-5" nickel not a nickel?
A: When one of the OLB weighs 285 and is a hybrid odd front DE, and 2-3 of the 5 DBs are in the 220# range and hybrid SLBs.
Imagine by December a base/early down package:
3 DL: Wise/Barmore, Godcheaux, Guy
3 LB: White, Bentley, Judon/Tavai
2 "Box" Safety: Peppers, Mapu/Dugger
2 CB: Gonzalez, Jon/Jack
1 "pure" safety: Dugger/Jon/Mills
Size to spare. Speed to spare. Multiple guys who can cover RBs or TEs. Multiple real threats to blitz. Functionally it's 8 in the box. The flexibility to beef up, speed up, or adjust for additional length by tweaking personnel here and there. With Jon at the safety position you can drop him into the slot and drop one of the Box safeties back as necessary or to spin the dial. Or with Mills at safety you can roll him to a boundary or down onto a TE, bringing Jon or Dugger back. Mobile QB? As many as 3 guys who could legitimately spy. Can legitimately play man - and with deep help - against 12, 21, 13, 22, and many specific instances of 11, 20, and 02. Barely registers as a concern if RBs or TEs are flexed to WR positioning.
Gonzalez was a pure best player available.
White and Mapu give Bill, Steve, and Mayo the ability to seriously mess with QBs heads, making pre-snap reads almost useless, and reads in the first half second almost as tenuous. This would be really messy to scheme against, and worse to execute against.
It's silly to assume that all 3 will not only hit, but be ready for prime time by December. But boy, would it change the game against Mahomes and Allen for that stretch run. I can't to see what these guys look like in camp, and how they develop over the course of the year. They could be sick chess pieces.