Gryphon ~ Darron Lee ~ Ohio State BuckEyes
For that reason, and in order to offer NomenClature that speaks not to archaic, obsolete "Positions", but rather to Skill Sets that accurately reflect the dynamic Changes of the 21st Century Game and the Roles they have spawned, I have undertaken to craft Terminology that is designed to break Skill Sets down as they really are.
Defensive Coordinators have, since Time Immemorial, employed highly creative terminology in devising Defenses and in designating Assignments. In that Spirit, I have admittedly indulged myself considerably in devising the following NomenClature. It is undeniably colorful, but I like to think that there's an underlying Logic, as well:
Gryphons ~ The Gryphon of ancient Egyptian Lore is an Hybrid of a Lion and an Eagle, and thus I believe an utterly perfect term for an emerging Role ~ and the attendant Skill Set ~ that I believe is going to become of enormous Importance in the Decades to come: The Hybrid MidFielder/RoverBack ~ that's "LineBacker/Strong Safety" to you Earthlings. The Base Formation is rapidly approaching Extinction: The Sub Package Is The New Base, Ladies & Laddies!! The next Development in the Eternal War between Offense and Defense may very well be an 11th Player ~ that same MidFielder/RoverBack Hybrid ~ playing Full Time!! The Prototype would be about 6000/225, I'd say.
The Gryphon would optimally be able to play RoverBack in "Base" Formations, and drop down to MidFielder for Big Nickel.
Gryphons could thus quite conceivably emerge as the Field Generals of the Defense in the Years to come.
When evaluating Gryphons, this is how I break things down:
Agility: Acceleration, Ricochet, Fluidity, and Verticity ~ that's Turn & Burn Acuity, to you Earthlings!!
Processing Speed: How quickly and effectively one Reads & Reacts to the developing Play.
Run Defense: Power, Agility, Combat Skills, Navigating Traffic, Processing Speed, Motor, and Tackling.
Pass Coverage: Agility, Processing Speed, and Catch Point Capacity.
Broken down into SubCategories, it'd go something like this:
* Fluidity, above all things: Core Agility & Flexibility makes everything possible.
* Ricochet ~ How crisply and how rapidly one breaks in a new direction.
* Acceleration ~ Short Speed or Quickness. Closing Speed.
* Verticity ~ The Ability ~ or lack thereof ~ to Flips Hips and Turn & Burn in Pass Coverage.
* How quickly and effectively one Reads & Reacts to the developing Play.
* Combat Skills
* Navigating Traffic
* Processing Speed
* Processing Speed
* Catch Point Capacity
Processing Speed: Outstanding.
Run Defense: Exceptional. I'd grade his Power as mediocre for this Hybrid Role, and his Combat Skills in negotiating Traffic are alike Mediocre. Consequently, he is mediocre at the Point of Attack.
But there is good reason to speculate that he'll improve that Aspect of'is Game, as he is only 21 and is but 3 Years removed from being a 195 Pound Hybrid whose best Position was QuarterBack.
My Point of course is that I believe it takes Time & Repetitions for an Athlete's Functional Strength to catch up to'is Intrinsic Strength. Lee would be in Trouble, I think, as a traditional MidFielder, but as an Hybrid, playing the Gryphon's Role out in the Green, it seems to me that his he's got sufficient Power to compete at the next level.
His Strength in Run Defense is of course his Range. His Fluidity and Acceleration are amazing, and this natural Advantage is enhanced by outstanding Field Vision which I believe is only going to get better.
Pass Coverage: Phenomenal. Lee brings sensational Fluidity and Speed to the Field of Battle. His Processing Speed isn't as impressive, rolling back into Coverage in Zone, as it going forward in Run Defense, as is often the case, but his capacity to cover HalfBacks in Man Coverage is extraordinary, and his Field Vision will likely improve.
Blitz Bonus: Lee's got a long ways to go, because he certainly lacks Power or Combat Skills, but with his Speed, his Fluidity, and his Talent for Rapidly Reading & Reacting to the Tactical LandScape, he's got Potential.
It's amusing to me to read about how Lee is "undersized", as if Gryphons ~ RoverBack/MidFielder Hybrids in the 220/235 Pound Range ~ aren't rapidly emerging as an integral part of Defenses's reaction to 21st Century Offenses.
You've always got to be careful when evaluating Prospects on Championship Caliber Teams like the BuckEyes, because a mediocre Talent can appear far, far more impressive in a winning Scheme surrounded by top caliber Talent.
I believe that that was the case with Reggie RagLand, though time may prove me very wrong.
Not so with Darron Lee, I think. With Lee, I see an extraordinary fusion of amazing Fluidity and Speed combined with terrific and improving Field Vision: The Processing Speed is evidently not as rapid in Pass Coverage, mind you, but as he's a younger Prospect than most ~ a 21 Year Old Red Shirt Sophomore ~ and a former QuarterBack whose only been a Defensive Starter for 2 Years and already displays outstanding Field Vision in Run Defense...I ain't worried.
I don't expect that he's likely to ever become more than adequate at The Point Of Attack, but as he gets the Time & Training in at his recently acquired Weight and thus converts Intrinsic Power into Functional Power ~ having ascended from 195 Pounds to about 230 in 3 Years ~ and as he develops his Combat Skills, I expect he'll be competitive.
To package those Issues up: Power, Combat Skills, and Pass Coverage Processing Speed are the Issues, which I would currently all grade as mediocre...But in evaluating Lee, I'm considering his relatively shallow Experience as a Starting Defender, his Improvement from one Year to the next, and his outstanding Processing Speed in Run Defense, as they relate to his Pass Coverage Processing Speed and also to his current level of Combat Skills.
And I'm considering the fact that he's only recently beefed up to 230 Pounds or so.
And what I come up with is that I believe he's carving out an Arc ~ an Ascension ~ wherein we can bet very confidently that this ferocious Defender is going to keep developing his Mind and his Combat Skills considerably, and where his Functional Power, through Time & Repetition, also improves well beyond its current level.
In other words: I foresee'm developing all Mediocrities to competitive levels or better.
And his Strengths....are incredible.
Darron Lee, it seems to me, has the Speed, Fluidity, and Field Vision to develop both into an outstanding Run Defender with astonishing Range, and one of the most dynamic Pass Defenders in the Game.
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!!