Offensive Guard ~ Benjamin Braden ~ Michigan Wolverines ~ 6063/330
The Gutters are riddled with the Corpses of Teams that were built around so-called "skill" Players ~ teams that delighted their Fantasy FootBall Fans every Year, all the way until January...until The Only Games That Really Matter.
It is then, of course, that the Capacity ~ or lack thereof ~ to Move The Chains and protect the QuarterBack against PlayOff Caliber Defenses rears its ugly head. And another Team built for Fantasy FootBall bites the dust.
This is how I break things down, when I'm evaluating Offensive Guards:
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: Lateral Leverage, Paw Positioning, Paw Persistence, and FootWork.
Processing Speed: How quickly and effectively one Reads & Reacts to the Rapidly Roiling Tactical LandScape!!
Motor: Endurance and Drive: How much Work has been put into Conditioning, and how it manifests itself.
Run Blocking: Applying it all: Power, Agility, Frame, Combat Skills, Processing Speed, and Motor.
Pass Blocking: Power, Agility, Frame, Combat Skills, Processing Speed, and Motor.
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 in the Passing Game. The capacity to Stand One's Ground.
* Drive Power in the Running Game. The capacity to drive your man back.
* 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.
* Reading & Reacting to Defensive Schemes & Stunts quickly and effectively.
* Field Vision: Finding Targets & approaching them effectively.
* Power ~ Drive Power to project Power in the Running Game.
* Agility ~ especially Acceleration DownField or to the Flank.
* Frame ~ especially Vertical Leverage.
* Combat Skills.
* Processing Speed.
* Power ~ Anchoring Strength to reject Power in the Passing Game.
* Agility ~ especially Fluidity to Mirror the Pass Rusher.
* Frame ~ especially WingSpan.
* Combat Skills.
* Processing Speed.
Power: Mediocre. He's enormous, but his impressive Torso Power is far better than his marginal Core Power, which is always a Mistake. He can produce a nice initial Shock, but then usually stalls out.
Agility: Marginal. Excellent Launch Velocity, and tremendous Acceleration and Speed, but horrible Fluidity.
Frame: Mediocre. 6063 is far too tall for optimal Vertical Leverage, but his WingSpan is sufficient.
Combat Skills: Mediocre. Mediocre Positioning and Lateral Leverage. Impressive Persistence but marginal FootWork.
Processing Speed: Impressive. Exceptional in Pass Protection. Competitive in the Running Game.
Motor: Exceptional Intensity and, remarkably, at 330 Pounds, exceptional Stamina.
Run Blocking: Horrible in Zone, and Marginal on a Power Scheme Team, though potentially competitive if he can improve his Combat Skills. His greatest Liability is his Fluidity, as it inhibits his ability to block anywhere but straight ahead.
Pass Blocking: Marginal. His Fluidity to Mirror being horrible, he's gonna need to develop his Combat Skills to an enormous degree if he's ever gonna be anything but a Liability in Pass Protection.
As it is, he's gonna have a very difficult time carving out a Role at the next level, due to the combination of those Liabilities. But I'm very impressed with his Intelligence and Drive, and even though I find it baffling that he hasn't yet developed better Combat Skills, despite the Reputation for persistent Hard Work that he's earned, and while I find the stress that he appears to've made on developing not his Core but his Torso to be very foolish, I won't be the one to bet against Intelligence and Drive, especially when we're talking about Trench Warfare, where Intangibles matter most!!
Grateful Thanks, as always, for the crucial Work done by the folks at Draft BreakDown!
This is not is even remotely a Complaint, mind you, but rather a Warning: Caveat Emptor!!