Bandit ~ Arden Key ~ Louisiana State Fighting Tigers ~ 6050/238
Old Roles are getting dramatically transformed, and virtually every Front 7 ~ or Front 6!! ~ Defensive Job Description is transitioning into an Hybrid Role where the Defender is asked to excel in multiple Roles and in multiple Fronts.
For that reason, and in order to offer NomenClature that speaks not to archaic, obsolete "Positions", but rather to Skill Sets that accurately reflect the dynamic Changes of the 21st Century Game and the Roles they have spawned, I have undertaken to craft Terminology that is designed to break Skill Sets down as they really are.
Defensive Coordinators have, since Time Immemorial, employed highly creative terminology in devising Defenses and in designating Assignments. In that Spirit, I have admittedly indulged myself considerably in devising the following NomenClature. It is undeniably colorful, but I like to think that there's an underlying Logic, as well:
Bandits ~ This is my term, derived from Defensive Schemes, for Players with the WingSpan for the Defensive Line yet who, unlike Dragons, lack the Size to play there regularly, because they can't be expected to Anchor against the Run.
They are thus the right Size though a bit tall to play MidFielder and can generally do so, but I believe are optimally employed as Wild Cards, deployed all over the Formation from Snap to Snap, usually in the murky, shifty region between the Defensive Line and the MidFielders, usually standing up, and generally giving no clue as to their Intentions.
I believe that the Bandit, whatever he's called in a given Formation, stands at the very EpiCenter of the disruptive Changes that Defensive Formations are undergoing today. Their unique combination of Size & Speed offers precisely that Wild Card Variable that I believe is potentially priceless for Defenses to compete and indeed to excel in the incessantly and rapidly evolving Strategic LandScape of the 21st Century. The Prototype would be around 6030/245 or so, I'd say.
As the ultimate Defensive Hybrid, Bandits could quite conceivably Rush the Passer, Blitz the Run, or Drop into Coverage on any given play, and from virtually any alignment on the Line or in the BackField. They won't anchor against the Run very effectively, they won't overwhelm with Power in their Pass Rush, and they're not built to Turn & Burn with WideOuts in Coverage, but they are in fact optimally built to conceivably compete effectively in all three Facets of the Game.
Of course, where and how any given Coach chooses to deploy his Players is his Business. Players that I characterize as Bandits may often or even routinely line up anywhere, on any given Down. My only purpose is simply to identify what I perceive as Skill Sets, to distinguish types, if you will, and perhaps create a universal Point of Reference.
When evaluating Bandits, this is how I break down the Attributes to which I pay most particular attention:
Power: Above all: Core Power. Torso Power is important, but Core Power, from the Knees to the Ribs, is absolutely crucial. All the upper body Strength in the world will still fail if you simply can't dig in your Heels. But Core Power enables an Offensive Lineman to project Power in the Running Game and to reject Power in the Passing Game.
Agility: Launch Velocity, Acceleration, and above all: Fluidity or Core Agility. Core Agility is even more essential to sustained good Health ~ and to sustained good FootBall ~ than Core Power. The ability to react with Serpentine smoothness is a tremendous Asset in all Aspects of the Game, and certainly in the Hand to Hand Combat that characterizes Trench Warfare. All the Power in the World goes only so far if you're lurching around like FrankenStein.
Frame: Vertical Leverage, Hands, Arm Length, and WingSpan.
Combat Skills: Horizontal Leverage, Paw Positioning, Paw Persistence, and FootWork. Above all: Pass Rush Repertoire.
Processing Speed: How quickly and effectively one Reads & Reacts to the Rapidly Roiling Tactical LandScape!!
Tackling: Thunderous Booms are all very well, but I'm more interested in form and efficiency!!
Motor: Intensity and Stamina: How much Work has been put into Conditioning, and how it manifests itself.
Run Defense: All the Above, applied.
Pass Coverage: Ditto.
Pass Rush: Double Dirty Dog Ditto.
Broken down into SubCategories, it'd go something like this:
* Core Power ~ lower body Power. Core Power trumps Torso Power. Tyrannosaurus Rex had exceptional Core Power.
* Torso Power ~ upper Body Power. Important, but not crucial. T Rex had lousy Torso Power...yet was King.
* Anchoring Strength against the Run.
* Drive Power, Rushing the Passer.
* Fluidity, above all things: Core Agility & Flexibility makes everything possible.
* Launch Velocity ~ Speed into Contact off the Snap.
* Acceleration ~ Short Speed or Quickness.
* Vertical Leverage. Height is crucial, but it's actually better, I believe, to be an Inch shorter than an Inch Taller.
* Hands. The larger the better, generally, but compact is never a bad Attribute in The Trenches.
* Arm Length. Absolutely crucial. He who boasts the longer Arms initiates Combat.
* WingSpan. Arm Length + Torso Width. A more complete Measurement.
* Lateral Leverage. Angles. Getting Square or better with the Target.
* Paw Positioning ~ It's all about Angles & Leverage.
* Paw Persistence ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* FootWork ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* Pass Rush Repertoire: Variety.
* Reading & Reacting to Offensive Blocking Schemes with Speed & Precision.
* Field Vision: Finding Targets & approaching them effectively.
Power: 25. He's all Speed and Fluidity and no Power.
Agility: 100. Yeah, about that Speed and Fluidity. Of course I should clarify what I mean, because sometimes I refer to Speed as a collective term for Launch Velocity, Acceleration or Short Speed, and Long Speed, and sometimes, meaning: when I'm breaking down Agility into subcategories, as I am, here ~ it's all about context, baby!! ~ I refer to Long Speed as simply Speed...Well, in that context, Key's Speed sucks...But his Launch Velocity, Acceleration, and Fluidity are sensational.
Frame: 80. His Height undermines his already sub-marginal Power, but his WingSpan is phenomenal.
Combat Skills: 100. A master of all aspects of Combat Skills and with a magnificent Pass Rush Repertoire.
Processing Speed: 60. Very good instincts for Blocking, though less so for identifying Pass or Run.
Tackling: 33. Effective in 2016. Horrible in 2017.
Motor: 33. Excellent Intensity and Stamina in 2016, before he lost his Shit. But then, he did, disappearing for several months for mysterious reasons, larding up like a cow, and subsequently playing like one in 2017.
Run Defense: 33. Horrible at The Point of Attack. Sufficient In Pursuit in 2016.
Pass Coverage: 33. Tremendous potential, but shaky Field Vision and indifferent application.
Pass Rush: 100. An absolutely cosmic combination of Agility, Frame, and Combat Skills.
Red Flag: Whack Job. After being mocked Top 3 and potentially #1 overall last Spring, Key freaked out and disappeared on'is team for what remain mysterious reasons. He then piled on 30 or 40 pounds of lard, got banged up because he was out of shape, and then pretty much disappeared on'is team again, more'r less slinking off into the night. Rumors are that he likes partying a bit too much and that the stint last Spring was for Rehabilitation. But what worries me most is that he essentially stopped being a FootBall Player for several months. We all need to shut it down once in a while, but for me, if I go even a single day without doing something constructive, I feel wretched...And yet Key evidently spent several months not doing anything but stuffing ring dings in'is mouth and playing video games. That...does not greatly inspire my confidence.
But it's certainly a big fat Red Flag.
Arden Key was projected to go Top 3 and quite possibly #1 overall just last Spring, and was described by many, correctly, as being on a par with or even better than the great Pass Rush Prospects that've come out in recent years. As such, a Top 3 Pick would've been warranted, had he not lost his Shit, as he was a decent Pursuit Run Defender in 2016.
Now, of course, there are major questions about his Future. Rumors of drug abuse and excessive partying are supported by the bloated corpse he dragged around in 2017, and comparisons to Randy Gregory ~ who I certainly failed to discount sufficiently for Risk in 2015 ~ are all the rage. Arden Key oozes classic Boom/Bust potential.
Ceiling? Hall of Fame.
Floor? Bagging Groceries.
Indicators either way? Very, very shaky. Whatever he was into last Spring, I can make allowances for, in and of itself...But his having disappeared without explaining, even to this very day, his having done so for several months, and, above all, his having clearly taken a vacation from any kind of work for so long, do not inspire me to bet on this kid.
Me, I wouldn't have'm. But I can't blame a team for risking a 3rd Rounder on'm.
Thank you so very much, Draft BreakDown, without whom my Work would be virtually impossible.
Please also note, Fellow FootBall Fiends: These CyberScouting Reports are not intended as predictions of success or failure, but as assessments ~ ludicrously amateurish assessments ~ of potential success. FootBall is a rough and often unfair business, and many a worthy Prospect has fallen far short of his potential, sometimes not because of his own failings, but because of those of coaching, scheme, timing...or because huge investments were made on other Prospects.
In other words: If any of my Super Dooper Deeper Sleepers ever fail to fulfill their vast potential, I’m confident that it goes without saying that it wasn’t their fault…or mine!!...Yes, I think that I'm being funny.
In other words: Caveat Emptor, Fellow FootBall Fiends!!
Enter at your own risk!!