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Easiest/hardest position for rookies to play?

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For easiest, I'd have to say TE by far, it's not even close.


- It's the only position where routinely, players with no football experience try to play and do it well. e.g. Antonio Gates, Jimmy Graham. You don't see basketball players do well at D-Line, O-Line, or QB.

- TEs have an innate advantage on the field by their size and length. They have a size and length advantage over LBs, Safeties, and CBs. 50/50 balls oftentimes go well with little effort. They don't need to be a speed burner or have a catch for huge yardage, but instead, just run a route with enough distance (oftentimes 3-6 yards) to move the chains.

- Strength and speed does not vastly affect the position like other positions. Bad bench press numbers won't prevent one from doing his job. Poor 40 time at the combine won't rapidly drop his draft stock like that of a WR.

- They can block, but don't need to be a primary blocker; instead, be a "chip" blocker. Not very difficult. Even a fully untrained football player can throw a chip block.

- You don't see many extreme busts at the position. Rarely do you see a bad TE as the reason a team is struggling.


I place TE as easier ahead of Guard because lineman can oftentimes encounter a strength learning curve when transitioning from the NCAA to NFL.



For hardest, I'd have to say CB by far.


- Rules favoring offenses, physical contact, PI have made that position almost impossible to play if you do as much as hiccup at the receiver.

- Job is heavily affected by the front 7; struggling pass rush = struggles at CB.

- Even the best will get beat routinely. See Jalen Ramsey in the super bowl as an example. Or Vontae Davis vs. Antonio Brown games from 2014-2017.

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Easiest I would say is RB, G, TE on offense, DT, MLB, and S on defense, and P on special teams.

Hardest are QB, WR, C, LT, EDGE, CB, and K


Notice that the harder positions are the more premium positions. That's why teams draft them higher and we have had a harder time getting good ones ourselves.

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Assuming we’re excluding kicker and Punter?

On offense, running back is the easiest and by a wide margin.  I think if we’re talking about Tight End then we should make a distinction between the Y (inline, next to the tackle) and the F, split out to be a jumbo receiver to use his body in a mismatch. 


Of the two, the F, the receiving tight end, is the easier of the two.   But the Y, is hard.   Really hard.   Because you’ve got to be two different players.  You have to be a very good blocker, almost like an additional lineman, and another receiving option.   There’s very little overlap in those two skill sets.  

Based on Ballard’s comments at the pre-draft presser, I’d say we’re in the market for a Y.  Someone that can block at a high level, like Doyle.   If MAC gets hurt, we have no real backup that I’m aware of.   Ballard said if your offense doesn’t have a good Y your running game isn’t the same.   Call it insurance to protect JT. 

Plus,  Ballard spoke well of Granson and thinks he’ll show improvement this season.  We invested a 4 in him last year.  He needs the opportunity to show what he can or can’t do. 

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I think if your blessed with the right height, build and can run a bit, TE is one of the easiest positions in sports to make it professionally..... however I think Guard & RB are the easiest positions to adjust to coming out of college and play as a NFL rookie.

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Having played every position across the OL up to semi-pro level, I can speak to my experience with OL. I would say in terms of difficulty based on transitions i have seen guys make over increase in levels of competition (though admittedly not at the NFL level):


Easiest O:  RB, G, Y (slot WR), Z (WR), U (TE...also called "F" TE...I knew it as "U")

Hardest: QB, C, OT, Y (TE), X (WR)


QB goes without saying. So damn difficult as you move up in any level of competition. 


Along the OL, Center for me was the most mentally and physically demanding. I had to set the protections (some teams the QB does and it takes the burden off the C). I had to make the adjustments. On one play I was blocking a 350lb NT in the 0 gap, head-up, one-on-one. The next play a 250lb quick, fast, strong blitzing ILB. The following play, a shaded NT in the 1 gap. The play later a 3-T DT who was strong and quick cutting inside. Not to mention twists and the fact that I had to maintain the snap count while also checking down to the last minute and couldn't allow pressure up the middle or it would ruin everything.


At OT I actually did quite well against speed guys. I was a quick-twitch type of OT and had quick feet. I could easily ride a fast edge out wide and deep and get him by the QB as the QB stepped up. The harder guys were those speed-to-power guys that had a great bull rush too. Those guys could put me on skates sometimes if I guessed wrong or over-committed. 


Y TE was damn hard. They have to block at times on-on-one against a DE. When they run routes they need to be strong enough to win against DBs but quick enough to win against LBs. And you have so many responsibilities especially if the C or QB checks you into a protection role pre-snap.


X WR was also damn difficult for people. Since they are on the line they have to deal with jams a lot more. They have less room to operate. They also can't go into motion. Definitely have to be stronger and yet also have to be quick/fast enough to win in their route. Plus they are often the team's WR1 and can see double teams. 



Defensively it is harder to say. All depends on scheme. in general i would say:


Easier: DT, DE, S, OLB


Harder: CB, NT, ILB


NT is just a tough, tough job and as you step up in competition level you can get washed out quicker.


CBs are on islands and facing way better WRs than many had at previous level and the only way you learn is through experience and that means getting burnt often. And yet having to not lose your confidence but also correct your mistakes and not get in your own head. 


ILB it can depend. But if you are a team that plays a lot of zone and also are the player calling the defense then you have tons to handle mentally and yet also need to physically be able to drop and cover some bigger zones. Read and react, but not overreact too. 


Now please do not confuse this with "what positions can you come in and put up numbers quickest?"


That is a different story. You can make plays and stack numbers at some of the "hard" positions before you could the easier ones.


But actually playing and grading out well at those harder positions, in my opinion, is a lot more difficult. 



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