Flex End ~ Darren Waller ~ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets ~ 6060/238
The Prototype would be about 6050/260 or so.
The "Tight Ends" whose Frames are better suited to be deployed in running Routes from all over the Formation, and who aren't especially renowned for their Blocking ~ though many are adept Chippers ~ I refer to as Flex Ends.
The Prototype would be about 6030/245 or so.
Those of either type who present legitimate Dual Threats ~ who can make a genuine Impact either as a Blocker or as a Receiver ~ are impossible to predict from Snap to Snap, and this renders them extraordinarily dangerous.
Conceivably even more dangerous and dynamic than either of these two types is one of my pet Positions: The WingBacks. I employ this ancient FootBall Term, one still in active use in many High Schools and Colleges, to refer to a Role so ethereal as to be almost imaginary: an Hybrid FullBack & Flex End ~ a Super Hybrid, if you will.
The Prototyped would be about 6000/250 or so.
The WingBack, optimally, would be a guy capable of Lead Blocking in the Run Game, Pass Blocking in the Passing Game, or splitting out and running Pass Patterns from SlotBack, Slot End, Split End, or Flanker. He could line up at any of those spots, or on either Wing, on the Line, or in the BackField. He could even go In Motion or run the Ball!!
Such a versatile, dynamic Player could have an explosive Impact on the Competitive LandScape.
The Game has reached a point in its Tactical History that is perfect for such a Player.
It awaits only for the NFL to realize the Opportunity.
Because Flex Ends operate as an Hybrid's Hybrid ~ part Tight End and part WideOut, with Blocking ~ the occasional Chip ~ being but a tertiary part of their Game ~ I break down their Attributes pretty much like I would those of a WideOut:
Separation: Getting Open. This encompasses Combat Skills & Fluidity to beat Press, Acceleration out'f the Blocks, Fluidity and Ricochet in navigating Traffic, Route Running Precision, the capacity to deceive Defenders, and Field Vision for Timing Seems and Open Zones. All other Aspects of a WideOut's Job Description are dwarfed by this one.
Catch Point Capacity: In Transit or Contested: Hands, WingSpan, Vertical Agility, Combat Skills, and Timing.
Navigation: How well he Navigates the Field after the Catch: Power, Agility, Acceleration, Long Speed, and Field Vision.
Broken down into SubCategories, it'd go something like this:
* Combat Skills
* Field Vision
Catch Point Capacity
* Combat Skills
* Vertical Agility
* Long Speed
* Field Vision
Catch Point Capacity: Phenomenal. To be certain, there is a bit more involved with Catch Point Capacity than simply being incredibly tall. But it doesn't hurt. But Waller isn't simply a Tower of Power. He displays exceptional Tracking & Timing on Throws, and way DownField, too. No simple Chain Mover, he. And he's not just Tall and Fast: he's Strong, and hes physical. When he develops better Combat Skills, he's going to be devastating at the Catch Point.
Navigation: Impressive and potentially outstanding. I've mentioned Waller's marginal Fluidity, and his Field Vision is pretty developmental at this point, simply because he hasn't run many Routes. But he's got a lot of Beef in that Towering Frame, and he's got absolutely astonishing Speed for such a big guy...But most potentially deadly of all of his Attributes, I do believe, is his impressive Tracking & Timing. God knows there's a lot of Time & Training ahead'f'm, but if he's able to develop his Field Vision well enough to get out there on a regular basis, Waller's unearthly fusion of Tower, Power, incredible Speed, and Tracking & Timing Talent could produce the most devastating Weapon in the League.
My take on the situation is simple:
Sure, he could play Split End ~ or at least try to ~ but why in the name of God would you want him to??
A few Arguments in favor of converting Darren Waller to Flex End, humbly submitted:
01 ~ The Casualty Rate for WideOut Prospects ~ for Split Ends, Flankers, and SlotBacks ~ is very high, because it's a very complex Position to learn, what with vast myriad of Formations, of Routes, of Contingencies, and of Nuances. By comparison, Flex Ends run a far, far simpler Route Tree and have a far better Chance of Survival & Success.
02 ~ This enormous Liability is compounded by the sheer simplicity of the Routes run by the Yellow Jacket Triple Option, thus placing Waller, prospectively, behind an even sharper Learning Curve and at a greater Disadvantage.
03 ~ Waller could certainly make an Impact wherever he's lined up on a given Play, depending on the Defensive Formation, but to run the myriad of Routes that he would have to run, were he lined up at Split End on every Snap, would require far more Fluidity, methinks, that is readily available within that extraordinary but rather stiff and lumbering Frame.
04 ~ In short, Waller's incredibly undeveloped Game and marginal Fluidity would put'm behind the Eight Ball at Split End. He would very likely struggle mightily to survive, much less thrive. I'd probably give'm a 7th Rounder Rank.
05 ~ But if he were on the other hand developed and deployed as a Flex End, with a much simpler Route Tree to master, and moved around hither and yon to exploit Match Up Opportunities, he has the Tower, the Power, and the Speed, once he's had enough Time & Training, to potentially dominate. At worst, he'd be one Hell of a sweet Wild Card.
And, um...Yeah. In that Context, I believe I'd rank'm a wee bit higher.
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!!