Offensive Tackle ~ Chad Wheeler ~ Southern California Trojans ~ 6070/306
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 Tackles:
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: Effective. He went up against some Beef against the Huskies, and held his own.
Update: Marginal. Mediocre Core Power, exacerbated by his Vertical Leverage Liability ~ the Man's too tall for'is own good!!
Agility: Exceptional. Exceptional Launch Velocity out'f'is Stance, exceptional Fluidity to Mirror in Pass Protection or to change directions in the Open Field, and impressive Speed to the Flanks and DownField.
Update: Impressive. Impressive in all Aspects.
Frame: Mediocre. A bit tall for optimal Vertical Leverage. Looks like a sufficient WingSpan.
Update: Marginal. Two bits too tall, and a short WingSpan.
Combat Skills: Marginal, and yet with tremendous Potential. Wheeler exhibits exceptional Command of Lateral Leverage, consistently managing to get square or better with his Foes, his Paw Persistence is impressive, and his FootWork is excellent...but his Paw Positioning is horrible!! He consistently hits not the Frame but the Perimeter of'is Foe, and the inevitable result is a whole lotta clutching and grabbing. He desperately needs to clean that up.
Processing Speed: Impressive. Wheelers consistently exhibits superior Speed & Efficacy both in Reading & Reacting to Defensive Deception in Pass Protection and in Locating & Approaching Targets in the Running Game.
Motor: Effective Intensity and effective Endurance.
Run Blocking: Effective, and with Exceptional Potential. Wheeler projects best on a Zone Blocking Scheme Team, I think, as he's got much more Launch Velocity, Fluidity, and Speed than Power, and if he can get some intensive Time and Training to improve his horrible Paw Positioning, he could become a disruptive Force, Behind Enemy Lines.
Update: Mediocre. Marginal at The Point of Attack. Competitive In Pursuit.
Pass Blocking: Effective, and with Excellent Potential. The natural Fluidity to Mirror is there, and sufficient Power, combined with excellent FootWork. All he needs is to get the right Coaching on Paw Positioning, and he could blossom.
Update: Competitive. Problems with Power, but impressive Agility against Speed.
I sense a lot of Beta ~ Risk ~ with Chad Wheeler. High Upside/Low Floor, and all that.
His Paw Positioning is horrible, for one thing. And while that can be greatly improved with the right Coaching ~ though one can't help but wonder why that hasn't already happened ~ he can't be coached to be shorter and more compact. He's already missed several Games over the last 3 Years due to a litany of Maladies, and I can't help but speculate that his Leverage Liability at 6063 ~ constantly wrestling with more compact Foes ~ is the root cause of them.
And I can't help but wonder if those Injuries are a collective Harbinger of things to come.
If all breaks well for Wheeler ~ if he revolutionizes his atrocious Paw Positioning and if his various Injuries turn out not to be indicative of his future Health ~ then he's got the Launch Velocity, Fluidity, and Speed, along with sufficient Power, impressive Processing Speed, and a steady Motor to become a terrific all around Offensive Tackle.
But there's also a very real Chance that he fails to become an effective Starter...or an healthy one.
The Potential is definitely there...I'd just attenuate Value to account for Risk, is all.
Update: Yes, Upon Further Review, I'm gonna walk this one back a few Clicks. Wheeler's Agility is impressive, but his Power is marginal, he's too tall, and his WingSpan is too short, all of which Liabilities exacerbate the others.
I don't know if he's ever going to by anything but a Liability at The Point of Attack in the Running Game, with his weak Power and short Reach exacerbated by shaky Combat Skills, and he'll also be vulnerable to Power in Pass Protection.
On top of that is of course his Health, which's been shaky.
I had'm at a Soldier Rank and 3rd/4th Round Grade, but Upon Further Review, I feel that I need to drop'm a few Rounds.
And The Market obviously agrees, as he went UFA ~ Undrafted Free Agent. I'll update both Ratings.
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!!