Lion End ~ DeMarcus Walker ~ Florida State Seminoles ~ 6036/280
Old Roles are getting dramatically transformed, and virtually every Front 7 ~ or Front 6!! ~ Defensive Job Description is transitioning into an Hybrid Role where the Defender is asked to excel in multiple Roles and in multiple Fronts.
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:
Lions ~ This is my term for Defensive Linemen with the Size of a smaller and faster Defensive Tackle and the WingSpan of a Defensive End. Like the Grizzlies, they can line up at End in a 34 or at Tackle in a 43, or just about anywhere in either Formation, and conceivably play either 1 Gap or 2 Gap. The Prototype would be about 6050/300 or less.
Of course, where and how any given Coach chooses to deploy his Players is his Business. Players that I characterize as Lions may often or even routinely line up anywhere, on any given Down. My only purpose is simply to identify what I perceive as Skill Sets, to distinguish types, if you will, and perhaps create a universal Point of Reference.
When evaluating Lion Ends, this is how I break down the Attributes to which I pay most particular attention:
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. Above all: Pass Rush Repertoire.
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 Defense: All the Above, applied.
Pass Rush: Ditto.
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 against the Run.
* Drive Power, Rushing the Passer.
* 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.
* Pass Rush Repertoire: Variety.
* Reading & Reacting to Offensive Blocking Schemes with Speed & Precision.
* Field Vision: Finding Targets & approaching them effectively.
Power: Effective. Anchors well. Doesn't generate a whole lotta Drive.
Agility: Effective. Just adequate Launch Velocity and competitive Closing Speed, but excellent Fluidity.
Frame: Effective Frame for a hybrid Role as a combination 34 Power End and 43 Speed Tackle. He's a bit light for the latter but has the Frame to add another 10 Pounds or so. Mediocre WingSpan. Huge Hands.
Combat Skills: Phenomenal. His Paw Positioning, his Paw Persistence, and above all his FootWork and his Command of Lateral Leverage are simply amazing, and his Pass Rushing Repertoire is tremendous.
Processing Speed: Extraordinary. Walker's ability to consistently Read & React to the Tactical LandScape with Speed and Precision is tremendous, and he does so from all over the Line ~ Right End, Left End, or Nose Tackle.
Motor: Outstanding Intensity and outstanding Stamina.
Run Defense: Impressive and with exceptional Potential. Enough Power, enhanced by those outstanding Combat Skills, to anchor effectively at the Point of Attack as a 34 End, though he'd be doubly so if he beefed up a bit more, and sufficient Agility, greatly enhanced by his Field Vision and Combat Skills, to chase down a lot of Plays In Pursuit.
Pass Rush: Impressive and with tremendous Potential. I don't foresee'm developing into much of an Impact Player as a 34 Power End, but as a 43 Speed Tackle ~ "3 Tech" and other such Interior Roles ~ his amazing Combat Skills will not be neutralized, as they would be on the Flank by vinier Offensive Tackles, and Walker has enough Power, enough Launch Velocity and Closing Speed, and more than enough Fluidity to become an Impact Player on the Inside Rush.
DeMarcus Walker was projected to the 1st Round by Mel Kiper before erupting for 16 Sacks as a Senior...and yet, evidently in the wake of choosing not to participate in anything more than Measurements and the Bench Press at The Combine, Walker's Stock has plummeted all the way to the 3rd Round or so. Tony Pauline of Draft Analyst reports that this is the "overwhelming" reaction, and even hints that there are question marks about Walker's Character.
What a Load. I reserve the right to change my Mind dramatically, should Walker flop spectacularly at Tuesday's Pro Day, or turn out to be a Mass Murderer...But this is 2 Time Captain ~ of Florida State, mind you ~ who has, as evidenced by his Play, clearly attacked Tape and Training with incalculable Intensity, and done so persistently for Years.
I ain't worried about'is Character.
DeMarcus Walker brings a moderate level of Power and Agility to the Field of Battle, but his astonishingly well developed Combat Skills and Field Vision tell me that he also brings a cosmic level of Intelligence and Drive.
Trajectory > A Philosophical Formula that calculates a Prospect's Potential & Risk, based on perceptions of Talent, Intelligence, Passion, and Work Ethic: Talent x Intelligence x Drive = Potential/Risk.
It's all about analyzing Risk & Reward, and I say that DeMarcus Walker's Floor is Sky High.
And I say that he's a damned good bet to parlay A Few Scraps of Talent into a tremendous Career.
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!!