Offensive Center ~ Cameron Tom ~ Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles ~ 6033/289
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 Centers:
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.
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. At 6033, he's on the Tall side for an Offensive Center, and this Leverage Liability exacerbates the Issue.
Agility: Impressive. His Launch Velocity is consistently excellent. He's got sufficient Fluidity to Mirror in Pass Protection. And I'd grade'm as having a competitive level of Acceleration to the Flank or the Second Level.
Frame: Marginal. At 6033, his Height is optimal for Offensive Guard, but hinders his Vertical Leverage at Offensive Center, where his Foes are much more often likely to be shorter than he'd face at Guard. However, his Weight is too light for Offensive Guard and indeed too light for Offensive Center. His WingSpan appears to be exceptional, though.
It's difficult to assess such things with Certainty, so in all cases I'll await The Combine and Pro Days for final numbers, but it's not out'f the Realm of Possibility that Tom's best Position might be Offensive Tackle!!
Combat Skills: Excellent. Terrific Paw Positioning, Paw Persistence, and FootWork, and he consistently exhibits a strong Command of Horizontal Leverage, attacking at smart Angles and working through the Play to sustain'm.
Processing Speed: Excellent. His speed in picking up Targets in the Running Game and approaching them at an advantageous Angle is merely competitive, but his Diagnostic Velocity in reading Defensive Schemes and Stunts in Pass Protection, both before and after the Snap, is outstanding. He's clearly put in a lot of Time & Training.
Motor: Impressive. He showed a pretty steady Motor for 60 Minutes.
Run Blocking: Competitive, provided he plays exclusively on a Zone Scheme Team. He lacks the Power to Drive his Foes off the Ball in a Power Scheme, but he's got enough Acceleration to get out on the Flanks or to the Second Level, and sufficient Processing Speed, Field Vision, and Combat Skills to potentially develop into an effective Sealer.
Pass Blocking: Competitive. Power will be a Problem for'm, I believe, both because of his own mediocre Power and because his Leverage Liability at 6036 exacerbates it. However, his outstanding Processing Speed, his excellent Launch Velocity, and his terrific Combat Skills should go a long way towards neutralizing that Disadvantage. And while his Fluidity to Mirror isn't anything special, his Launch Velocity, Combat Skills, and WingSpan give him a potentially enormous Advantage against Speed & Agility. All things considered, he's got Liabilities, but a Chance to compete.
I've only watched the one Game Tape, so far, that being against the Texas State BobCats in 2015, so this Scouting Report is even more preliminary than most of my Reconnaissance Reports. And to add an additional Degree of Mystery, I'm waiting to see what his Measurements are at The Combine or his Pro Day. He just might have Tackle Potential.
In any case, Cameron Tom is a flawed but very intriguing Prospect. He's the Height of a Guard, the Weight ~ if he adds a few Pounds ~ of a Center...but might possibly possess the WingSpan of an Offensive Tackle.
I don't think so. That WingSpan looks good for Center, not Tackle. But I'll await the Numbers.
He could quite possibly never play a Down, as his combination of mediocre Power and lack of Vertical Leverage at Center, his most likely projected Position, might prove to be too much of a Liability, even considering his impressive array of WingSpan, Combat Skills, and Motor, and even though he is, mentally, born to play Offensive Center.
But there's plenty to intrigue, as well.
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!!