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Steve Young breaks down the five most important positions in the modern NFL



© Kyle Terada | 2020 Jan 19

Let’s say you’re building an NFL roster, and you can pick a great player at just five positions. Which ones do you choose? Not a bad hypothetical for an NFL general manager, right?

Former 49ers quarterback Steve Young is not a general manager, but he is a Hall of Famer, and one that studies the game as a professional closer than almost anyone around. He was posed this question by Tom Tolbert on KNBR on Wednesday, and gave his opinion.

What might surprise you? Young believes two of the three most important positions on a football team come on the defensive end.

“Clearly shutdown corner,” Young began. “You need to be able to take one guy and shut down a corner and then you can play all kinds of combinations. It frees up everything in the defense. Absolutely a shut down corner and they’re hard to find. Then that once in a generation pass rusher, everybody wants that guy. And Nick (Bosa) played that way last year and that’s why it brought the whole team with him, because it was a ferocious pass rush led by him. Those are the two guys on defense.”

On offense, Young believes the most important positions are quarterback and tackle, but the latter is less so in recent years.

“Obviously you’ve got to have the quarterback. Less and less is the backside tackle, the left tackle for righties. Look you need tackles. You need guys that can pass protect, but the game has become so dynamic at the quarterback position, that it’s basically just running people by. Like Kyler Murray, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, all the guys in the upper echelon right now, they drop back and they are on the move. The pocket is malleable, they’re good a picking spots…Great tackles are great tackles but I don’t think it’s quite what it was before.”

Young’s final answer shouldn’t surprise anyone, considering who he shared the field with for the majority of his career.

“Then if you had to pick another spot it would be the guy that’s not just a speed burner, but someone that can catch the football. That’s why Tyreek Hill is so good. When’s the last time you saw someone that fast, that could catch everything?”

Maybe he wasn’t that fast, but we an think of someone who fits that bill…

Listen to the full interview below.