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pakowitz 04-07-2004 10:33 PM

defensive changes can shake up draft
Time to look at the draft

By Pat Kirwan Senior Analyst

(April 2, 2004) -- It's "rumor" season for sure with the annual meetings over and most attention will turn to the draft. It is the responsibility of each and every club executive to find out what their draft position is worth.

Teams that say they don't ever make trades have that prerogative, but they shouldn't stick their head in the sand and not entertain offers to sell their spot to the highest bidder. With three weeks to go, there are already 28 trades from old business that affect this draft, and there will surely be more. The problem is rumors rule the airwaves and the print media. It's time to throw around trade ideas, but it's not time to pull the trigger on trades. It is time for teams to decide what they are looking for in the draft. Can the draft satisfy those needs? How many other teams have the same needs? Are their hidden gems that no one knows like your team does and can you keep it a secret? Let's take a look at a real issue that will very much affect this draft.

A number of teams are making a conversion from the 4-3 defense to the 3-4 scheme. Some teams are just installing a limited package as a changeup, other teams are going for the overhaul. Granted, the Falcons are abandoning the 3-4 for a penetrating 4-3, but a significant number of teams are going the other way. In some ways, the teams making the smaller change are more at risk than the teams going for the conversion. Sure the success Bill Belichick has in New England became required video study for the offseason, but there are a couple of key questions teams have to ask and answer before they can pull this off.

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