Offensive Guard ~ Cody WhiteHair ~ Kansas State WildCats ~ 6036/301
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 stiff and lumbering out there.
Combat Skills: Paw Power, Mechanics ~ Hand Speed & Positioning ~ and of course: Frame.
Intangibles: Processing Speed and Motor. Processing Speed or Diagnostic Velocity is about how quickly and effectively one Reads & Reacts to how the Rapidly Roiling Tactical LandScape effects Blocking Schemes, and Motor is about Endurance and Drive: How much Work has been put into Conditioning, and how it manifests itself.
Run Blocking: Power, Agility, Combat Skills, Processing Speed, and Motor.
Pass Blocking: Power, Agility, 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.
* Frame ~ Arms, Hands, and above all: WingSpan.
* Field Vision ~ Reacting to the Tactical LandScape: It's all about Angles & Leverage.
* Paw Positioning ~ It's all about Angles & Leverage.
* Paw Persistence ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* FootWork ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* Processing Speed ~ Field Vision. Reading Defensive Schemes quickly and effectively, and finding 2nd Level Targets.
* Motor ~ Intensity and Duration.
* Power ~ Drive Power to project Power in the Running Game.
* Agility ~ especially Acceleration DownField or to the Flank.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
* Power ~ Anchoring Strength to reject Power in the Passing Game.
* Agility ~ especially Fluidity to Mirror the Pass Rusher.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
Agility: Tremendous. Moderate Launch Velocity. Exceptional Acceleration. Extraordinary Fluidity.
Combat Skills: Exceptional. Adequate Frame for Offensive Guard. Tremendous Mechanics.
Intangibles: Outstanding. Impressive Motor and tremendous Processing Speed.
Run Blocking: I believe that WhiteHair clearly projects best as a Zone Blocking Guard, and within that Context, I believe that his tremendous combination of Acceleration and Field Vision translate to potential Excellence. His Frame looks to be about maxed out, so I don't believe that Power Blocking is likely ever to become a Strength of his.
Pass Blocking: With him boasting tremendous Processing Speed and extraordinary Fluidity, I believe that WhiteHair has extraordinary Potential as a Pass Protector. His Anchoring Strength will probably be considerably less impressive at Offensive Guard than at Offensive Tackle, but his Core Power is excellent, and this won't be a Liability.
So very much is Relative, and the entire Premise of Scouting is predicated ~ to various degrees, mind you ~ not on how a Prospect looks in a Vacuum, say ~ at The Combine or a Pro Day ~ but on how he performs In Battle.
Needless to say: How he performs against his Foes.
As such, if we're projecting a Prospect, such as Cody WhiteHair, to play against a different complement of Opponents at the next level ~ shorter, slower, but more compact and powerful Opponents, as he'll generally face moving towards the interior of the Line ~ then it seems to me that we ought to attenuate our Evaluations to account for that.
Specifically, I believe that a Prospect is going to look stronger but less agile playing at Offensive Tackle, as WhiteHair's been doing, then at Offensive Guard...And I believe that it follows, whatever our eyes tell us about WhiteHair's Power and Agility, playing at Offensive Tackle, that that same Skill Set, projected to Offensive Guard, will likely prove to be less powerful against slower but stronger, squatter Opponents, but more agile...and that we should attenuate accordingly.
Good God, but I do take the long way around the barn!!
As I mentioned above, I believe that WhiteHair clearly projects best as a Zone Blocking Guard, because his Frame looks to be about maxed out, so I don't believe that Power Blocking will likely develop into a Strength of his.
But if a Zone Blocking Team ~ or one that leans that way, anyway, as Hybrids Schemes are, in my opinion, almost always the best way to go ~ plucks WhiteHair up, I believe that they'll get the best of both Worlds:
A Run Blocker whose Processing Speed and Acceleration will enable him to be a persistently disruptive Force.
And a Pass Protector whose Field Vision, Fluidity, and Combat Skills will consistently lock down Pass Rushers.
There is of course both Risk and Temporal Cost in converting an Offensive Tackle to Offensive Guard, but WhiteHair has of course already previously started at Left Guard, his most natural Position.
And for that matter, there is substantial Value in the fact that, though I personally wouldn't ask'm to start at Center because of my misgivings about asking Prospects higher than 6030 to do so, I have every confidence that with his tremendous Processing Speed, he could develop into an exceptional one. Indeed, Teams have asked him about that.
Me, I'd draft'm as an Offensive Guard, but Cross Train'm at Center.
I believe that The Market has this one Spot On!!
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!!