Flex End ~ Devin Funchess ~ Michigan Wolverines ~ 6042/231
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
Catch Point Capacity
* Combat Skills
* Vertical Agility
* Long Speed
* Field Vision
Catch Point Capacity: Impressive. Again: Potentially outstanding yet inconsistent. He brings a towering Frame, a terrific WingSpan, and tremendous Vertical Agility to the Field of Battle, but his FootBall-retardant Hands need a bit of Work.
Navigation: Formidable. Funchess displays very little Power or Ricochet, but his Fluidity and Long Speed are excellent.
Blocking: Marginal. Mediocre Power, mediocre Combat Skills, and deficient Effort.
I think you can make an Argument either way for Funchess to be categorized as either a Split End or a Flex End, and I gave the matter a great deal of thought. And his Frame says "Split End" to me. I prefer Flex Ends to be beefier.
But when I watched'm on Tape, it became clear: This guy is nowhere near athletic enough to play Split End at an high level. Can he play there? Absolutely. I see no reason why he couldn't play quite a few Snaps there, depending on Tactical considerations. But I believe that Funchess's Skill Set is optimal to play Flex End ~ all over the Formation.
How he was deployed is immaterial to me and to this Prospectus...as is how he'll be deployed at the next level, for that matter. My Purpose is share my opinion of his optimal deployment...and how good he might be at it.
As far as that goes, I am for the second time today beset by divergent Impressions.
Devin Funchess has unmistakable 1st Round Talent, but, while I am by no means down on the kid, I did not get the kind of impression that he is an focused, relentless, unstoppable Force that I prefer to feel when proffering such a Grade.
I did not, in short, perceive the kind of Trajectory that I believe warrants a 1st Round Ranking. Funchess's Route Running is of concern to me, as are his Hands, but what concerns me most is the lack of Improvement I perceived in either.
Yes, you can make a strong Argument for a 1st Round Grade for him, and indeed many have. But I believe that his Market Value has been driven not by his Intrinsic Value as a Prospect so much as by the Law of Supply & Demand: There are precious few Flex End Prospects this Year, despite a wailing cacophony of Demand for'm at the next level.
I, on the other hand, perceive an healthy deal of Risk in'is Prospects, and will diverge with the Market on this one.
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!!