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Should Mike Mamula have played 3-4 OLB? (1 Viewer)

cstu

Footballguy
You can't read anything about the NFL Combine without seeing Mike Mamula's name mentioned as the poster boy for guys to shoot up the draft charts because of their combine numbers. However, looking at Mamula's size (6-4, 252) and speed (sub 4.4) he still drafted as a 4-3 DE by the Eagles. Trying a guy like Shawne Merriman at DE would probably have terrible results as well. Mamula may not have ever been a Pro Bowl player at 3-4 OLB but it seems like the Eagles tried to make him into something he wasn't and then blamed him for being "undersized".

I'm interested in hearing from Eagles fans if they felt the same way or if Mamula was doomed wherever he played.

 
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Jeff Pasquino

Footballguy
You can't read anything about the NFL Combine without seeing Mike Mamula's name mentioned as the poster boy for guys to shoot up the draft charts because of their combine numbers. However, looking at Mamula's size (6-4, 252) and speed (sub 4.4) he still drafted as a 4-3 DE by the Eagles. Trying a guy like Shawne Merriman at DE would probably have terrible results as well. Mamula may not have ever been a Pro Bowl player at 3-4 OLB but it seems like the Eagles tried to make him into something he wasn't and then blamed him for being "undersized".

I'm interested in hearing from Eagles fans if they felt the same way or if Mamula was doomed wherever he played.
The Eagles' head coach heading in to the 1995 draft was Ray Rhodes, his first season. He fell in love with Mamula's performance so much that he traded up to get him. The Eagles kept trying him as a pass rush specialist but it just didn't pan out.

Between his lack of size and his injuries, he was a bust.

The only reason he gets mentioned is because he trained for the tests that were going to be at the combine, working on doing well enough in those drills to get drafted high. It worked.

 

cstu

Footballguy
You can't read anything about the NFL Combine without seeing Mike Mamula's name mentioned as the poster boy for guys to shoot up the draft charts because of their combine numbers. However, looking at Mamula's size (6-4, 252) and speed (sub 4.4) he still drafted as a 4-3 DE by the Eagles. Trying a guy like Shawne Merriman at DE would probably have terrible results as well. Mamula may not have ever been a Pro Bowl player at 3-4 OLB but it seems like the Eagles tried to make him into something he wasn't and then blamed him for being "undersized".

I'm interested in hearing from Eagles fans if they felt the same way or if Mamula was doomed wherever he played.
The Eagles' head coach heading in to the 1995 draft was Ray Rhodes, his first season. He fell in love with Mamula's performance so much that he traded up to get him. The Eagles kept trying him as a pass rush specialist but it just didn't pan out.

Between his lack of size and his injuries, he was a bust.

The only reason he gets mentioned is because he trained for the tests that were going to be at the combine, working on doing well enough in those drills to get drafted high. It worked.
Yes, I know all that. I'm asking why he was drafted by the Eagles in the first place as a 4-3 DE who would be going up against OT's all day. A guy his size would never be drafted as a 4-3 DE today - can you imagine Ware or Merriman doing that? My view is that the Eagles weren't stupid for being interested in him, but rather stupid for thinking he would have any chance at DE.
 
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cracKer

Shawn Culcasi
You can't read anything about the NFL Combine without seeing Mike Mamula's name mentioned as the poster boy for guys to shoot up the draft charts because of their combine numbers.  However, looking at Mamula's size (6-4, 252) and speed (sub 4.4) he still drafted as a 4-3 DE by the Eagles.  Trying a guy like Shawne Merriman at DE would probably have terrible results as well.  Mamula may not have ever been a Pro Bowl player at 3-4 OLB but it seems like the Eagles tried to make him into something he wasn't and then blamed him for being "undersized". 

I'm interested in hearing from Eagles fans if they felt the same way or if Mamula was doomed wherever he played.
The Eagles' head coach heading in to the 1995 draft was Ray Rhodes, his first season. He fell in love with Mamula's performance so much that he traded up to get him. The Eagles kept trying him as a pass rush specialist but it just didn't pan out.

Between his lack of size and his injuries, he was a bust.

The only reason he gets mentioned is because he trained for the tests that were going to be at the combine, working on doing well enough in those drills to get drafted high. It worked.
Yes, I know all that. I'm asking why he was drafted by the Eagles in the first place as a 4-3 DE who would be going up against OT's all day. A guy his size would never be drafted as a 4-3 DE today - can you imagine Ware or Merriman doing that? My view is that the Eagles weren't stupid for being interested in him, but rather stupid for thinking he would have any chance at DE.
The 3-4 wasn't near as popular among NFL teams in 1995 as it is today. Pittsburgh ran it, maybe a couple of other teams, but I don't think that triain of thought was as prevalent as it is today.
 

BoltBacker

Footballguy
I think it just underlines how much the combine is over emphasized. Guys play for 3-4 full seasons of college ball but show up for a couple of days a month before the draft and suddenly that last 3-4 years doesn't mean very much if a DE can jump really high or a QB can do X# of reps on the weight bench. Has always seemed strange to me.

I wouldn't put so much of the blame on the DE/OLB angle. Plenty of edge rushers have made an impact just lining up on obvious passing downs and rushing the passer regardless what they were called while doing it. Suggs comes to mind. As does D.Thomas(KC) towards the end of his career. Even L.Taylor finished his career as not much more than a pass rushing specialist lining up on the outside.

If you're looking for examples of small speedy college guys making the jump to NFL DE you can also look at S.Rice. Plenty of people doubted he'd ever be anything more than a specialist but has carved out quite a career for himself. It can be done, but Mamula wasn't even that great as a situational player. This is one of the instances where the media is 100% right, Mamula was a combine-hall-of-famer. Rhodes(who I like very much as a coach) just got caught thinking he could take a very good raw athlete and mold him into a great player. He wasn't the first and won't be the last to make that mistake.

 

cstu

Footballguy
I think it just underlines how much the combine is over emphasized. Guys play for 3-4 full seasons of college ball but show up for a couple of days a month before the draft and suddenly that last 3-4 years doesn't mean very much if a DE can jump really high or a QB can do X# of reps on the weight bench. Has always seemed strange to me.

I wouldn't put so much of the blame on the DE/OLB angle. Plenty of edge rushers have made an impact just lining up on obvious passing downs and rushing the passer regardless what they were called while doing it. Suggs comes to mind. As does D.Thomas(KC) towards the end of his career. Even L.Taylor finished his career as not much more than a pass rushing specialist lining up on the outside.

If you're looking for examples of small speedy college guys making the jump to NFL DE you can also look at S.Rice. Plenty of people doubted he'd ever be anything more than a specialist but has carved out quite a career for himself. It can be done, but Mamula wasn't even that great as a situational player. This is one of the instances where the media is 100% right, Mamula was a combine-hall-of-famer. Rhodes(who I like very much as a coach) just got caught thinking he could take a very good raw athlete and mold him into a great player. He wasn't the first and won't be the last to make that mistake.
Ok, you're comparing Mamula to three great OLB pass rushers, not exactly fair even if they occasionally lined up on the line of scrimmage. Unfortunately, Mamula didn't get a chance to see what he could do in that role. Maybe he would have still have been a bust but he was a complete mismatch at DE. Simeon Rice is a better example but he's still much bigger (268 vs 252) than Mamula and can match up against OT's.

The bottom line is that some players can be busts because of one system yet be dominate when used in another. Imagine lining Lavar Arrington (6-3, 255) at DE and expecting him to play well.

 
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4 picks later, Minnesota drafted DE Derrick Alexander, who was even worse than Mamula.

I think he could have had more of an impact as a 3-4 olb, but like someone else posted, that defense wasn't around as much as it is today. Will never know.

Btw, I had him on my fantasy team.

 

cracKer

Shawn Culcasi
I think it just underlines how much the combine is over emphasized. Guys play for 3-4 full seasons of college ball but show up for a couple of days a month before the draft and suddenly that last 3-4 years doesn't mean very much if a DE can jump really high or a QB can do X# of reps on the weight bench. Has always seemed strange to me.
On the other hand, if a guy has been playing out of position or in a restrictive system for 3-4 years (college), the combine helps the player prove what he can do.
 

Boston

Footballguy
Mamula is the Godfather of the combine. It's pretty funny how every year during this time his name gets mentioned...and always will.

What many people forget was that Mamula was a highly productive college player. While he definetly shot up the draft charts at a ridiculous rate due to being a combine warrior he was no slouch at BC. The last time the scouts saw him in action was a bowl game that he absolutely dominated with about 3 or 4 sacks. As for being a OLB in a 3-4 in 2006 he would probably be viewed that way but in 95 he was seen as 4-3 DE who could get after the QB like a Dwight Freeney of today.

 

Please See Mine

Footballguy
Mamula was a DE in college, though. It's not easy for a lot of guys to make the switch from being a down lineman to being an upright player.

Merriman player some linebacker in college and Arrington was exclusively a linebacker, so there wasn't any compelling reason to try them at DE.

 

cstu

Footballguy
John Abraham was drafted at 256 IIRC.

10 years ago, Mamula's size was more common for DEs.
When he was drafted there were questions about Abraham playing DE. He proved that he could of course, but played both LB and DE in college. I personally think Abraham would be even better as a 3-4 OLB than he is at DE. There just seems to be more to Mamula's story than him just being a terrible football player. Mamula's career reminds me a lot of what happened to Steve Foley (6-3, 261). He was a primarily a defensive end and was drafted by the Bengals in 1998 as a 4-3 OLB as was considered a bust. He only had 4.68 speed and wasn't able to cover well enough to play that position. However, as soon as he got to the Chargers and started playing 3-4 OLB where he could rush the passer more and pass coverage was less of a responsibility he turned into a dominant player getting 10 sacks.

 

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