NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell joined the 33rd Team Call this week to talk about trends in the NFL that may lead to a re-thinking of some traditional beliefs about certain positions.
“For years, most would agree that there have been four positions that have been viewed as the premium positions in the game: quarterback, left tackle, pass rusher and corner,” Cosell said. “I think that’s probably been the consensus over time … without being really good at those positions, it’s tough to be successful in the league.”
The prevailing thought has always been that left tackle is much more important than right tackle – protecting the quarterback’s blind side from where the defense’s best pass rusher is coming.
“You have defenses now that are very detailed and nuances and sophisticated with their blitz packages to where the pressure can come from anywhere,” said Cosell. “So is the right tackle just as important as the left tackle now? I think we automatically say that, ‘Oh, left tackle is more important than right tackle.’ But I think the way the game has changed with all the defensive pressures and the complexity of it, do we want to say the left tackle position is more important?”
Cosell also noted the change in NFL teams’ use of the tight end. With players like Travis Kelce in Kansas City and Falcons’ first-round pick Kyle Pitts, the role of tight end has changed.
For example, Kyle Brady was more of a blocking tight end, and he was the ninth overall player drafted in 1995 by the Jets.
“We look at a league now where tight ends are different than they were years ago,” said Cosell. “A player like Kyle Brady today would probably be moved to offensive tackle, because that kind of player would not be a tight end in our game today. … We have tight ends now that split out – they’re the boundary X, the single receiver to the short side of the field. You’ve gotta cover these guys.”
To wit: Brady caught 343 passes in a 13-year NFL career. Kelce has 388 receptions in the last four seasons alone.