Cardinal ~ 6045/315
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...when The Only Games That Really Matter are played.
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.
I impart enormous importance upon Offensive Guards in my joyfully twisted World View of FootBall: Right up there with QuarterBacks, Defensive Tackles, and Centers in their potential Impact on The Only Games That Really Matter.
These are the Aspects of their Games that I place greatest emphasis on, when evaluating Offensive Guards:
Power. Above all: Core Power. Upper body Strength is important, but Core Power, from the Knees to the Ribs, is absolutely crucial. All the upper body strength in the world still fails if you can't dig in your heels. But Core Power enables a Lineman to project Power in the Running Game and to reject Power in the Passing Game. And those Players who invest the time and effort to develop superior Core Power are far likelier to enjoy sustained good Health and stay on the Field.
Agility. Lateral 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. Mechanics. Launch Velocity, Paw Power, and Technique.
Intangibles. Diagnostic Capacity, Processing Speed, and Motor. How effectively he masters Spatial Diagnostics & Angles, how rapidly he recognizes and implements Blocking Schemes based on changing Defensive Tactics, and of course: Drive. How badly he wants it. These are of course difficult things to assess, but it's crucial to at least try to.
My notion of a Dream Guard would be one who combines all these traits but with great emphasis on Agility ~ a truly Athletic Offensive Guard who can run Power Sweeps all day long, as Jerry Kramer and Fuzzy Thurston once did with Vince Lombardi's Packers on their way to no less than 5 Championships in 7 glorious years!!
Agility. Weak. Superior Acceleration to the 2nd Level or Flanks but Mediocre Lateral Agility and Lousy Fluidity.
Combat Skills. Very Good. Technically sound and Good Paw Power.
Intangibles. Extraordinary. Awesome Diagnostic Capacity & Processing Speed in a Tactical Environment. Great Motor.
David Yankey's Stock has ascended to the borderline 1st Round Level, and while I probably attribute more Importance to Offensive Guards than any man alive, I simply cannot roll with the Prevailing Opinion on this one.
Yankey is very Mechanically Sound, very Smart, very Motivated, and his Strength & Core Power is better than Average. So as long as he's drafted by a Team that runs a Power Blocking Scheme, I believe that he'll carve out a respectable Career.
But his Agility is lacking, and I believe that his pronounced lack of Fluidity is going to give him enormous problems with Quick, Explosive Defenders at The Next Level. I think he'll earn a starting Gig, and probably start for several Years, quite possibly a long time. Intelligence, Effort, decent Strength and sound Mechanics go a long way in this League.
But during The Only Games That Really Matter ~ the PlayOffs ~ he'll be facing Top Competition.
And it could get ugly.
Thanks, as always, to the extraordinary Work by the men of Draft BreakDown!!
Perceived Market Value