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Seven 'Cornerstone' positions in NFL

Wed, Mar 19, 2014

We are counting down to the 2014 NFL Draft each week with a unique perspective of how teams approach the draft from our Executive Director Phil Savage, who spent 20 years in the NFL as a scout and executive, including four years as the general manager of the Cleveland Browns.


Looking for the Seven Cornerstone Players

Every organization, when it analyzes its roster, feel like it needs seven primetime, first-rate, blue-chip starters at these seven positions. 


Of course the QUARTERBACK position is most important on the offensive side of the ball. When we talk about these positions, these are all players that are going to go high in the draft. In addition to a top quarterback, you need a LEFT TACKLE to protect the blind side of that quarterback and a big-play WIDE RECEIVER to catch passes from that quarterback. And, although the position has been devalued over the last few years, a key RUNNING BACK that the quarterback can hand the ball off to take some pressure off the QB. Those are the four component pieces that you need to put an offense together. That's where most of the money will go in terms of salary cap allocation and contracts.


On defense, the remaining three 'cornerstone' positions are counterparts to those offensive positions mentioned above. First, you need a quality PASS RUSHER to put pressure on the quarterback. Every team needs somebody who can get pressure on the QB from the edge or the outside. And then, on the perimiter, teams need a big-time CORNERBACK, usually with size and speed (over 6'0" tall, running sub 4.5) to matchup with these bigger receivers that are now coming into the league. The final piece on the defensive side of the ball is some type of prescence from an INSIDE PLAYER -- like a DEFENSIVE TACKLE or INSIDE LINEBACKER or even a FREE SAFETY.

Not every team has a key player in all seven of these spots. However, if you do, you have a great chacne to win because now you have a better chance to fill-in the blanks around those seven spots.