Wisconsin Badgers ~ 6003/210
I can no longer abide the application of the pathetically weak and flaccid term "Safety" to Gladiators.
It is struck from my Vocabulary.
The erstwhile "Free Safety" is truly the CenterFielder of the Defense. Honestly, I consider the term absolutely perfect.
And the erstwhile "Strong Safety", playing an increasingly hybrid Role and constantly improvising, is a RoverBack, I think.
When analyzing the Merits of a prospective CenterFielder, this is how I personally break things down:
Intangibles: Diagnostic Acuity, Field Vision, and, above all: Processing Speed. And of course: Motor. Motor Matters.
Agility: Acceleration, Fluidity, and Closing Speed. And of course: Verticity!! Turning & Burning in Direct Coverage.
Pass Prevention: Timing, Vertical Burst, WingSpan, and don't forget the Brutality!!
Run Support: Appetite, Tactical Discipline, and Combat Skills ~ working through Traffic & Tackling Mechanics.
Agility: Phenomenal. Southwards commands an extraordinary fusion of Fluidity, Acceleration, and Closing Speed. If his Mind catches up with his Agility, his Range will be incredible. And he's got the Verticity to play NickelBack, as well.
Pass Prevention: Mediocre, but with Potential. His Tracking & Timing as well as his Combat Skills are all still rather raw, but he flashes Brilliance in all those regards, and seemed to be improving throughout the 2013 Campaign. There is considerable Raw Agility to work with, here ~ Fluidity, Acceleration, and Vertical Agility ~ and he likes Combat.
Run Support: Excellent. Raw yet Impressive Combat Skills & Tackling Technique, and a clear Appetite for Contact.
However, fixated on Trajectory as I am, I always focus my attention on where I perceive a Prospect's greatest Potential to be, and in Southward's case I believe that his phenomenal raw Agility commands that he play CenterField.
Mind you: I'd've like to've seen much more development of his Processing Speed by this point. I believe that there's a legitimate Chance that he will not, in fact, develop sufficient Field Vision to play CenterField effectively.
But I wouldn't bet against it: Southward's only been starting for 2 Years and playing organized FootBall for 5. Furthermore, he's been deployed all over the Secondary, which fact provides not one but two pieces of Evidence that support the suggestion that Southward's Field Vision struggles aren't due to innately slow Processing Speed:
1 ~ The fact that he's been deployed hither and yon over the last few Years ~ deployed in all manner of Defensive Configurations and at different Positions ~ would've made it difficult to develop a concentrated Skill Set.
2 ~ The fact that he's been trusted, despite having just started with organized FootBall as a Senior in High School, mind you, to take on multiple Roles ~ and has played them effectively if sporadically ~ speaks to the implicit Trust that his Coaches have demonstrated in his Capacity to process and apply all different kinds of Training.
If Dezmen Southward does in fact ultimately manage to fulfill his immense athletic Potential, he will bring not only flat out phenomenal Agility and a broad, sweeping Range to CenterField, he will also bring the Capacity to effectively play NickelBack on clear Passing Downs and a consistently ferocious Impact in Run Defense.
There's some Risk, here, mind you...But to me he seems like an awfully good Bet.
Thanks, as always, to the extraordinary Work by the men of Draft BreakDown!!
Consensus Market Value