Offensive Guard ~ Dion Dawkins ~ Temple Owls
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...until The Only Games That Really Matter.
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.
This is how I break things down, when I'm evaluating Offensive Guards:
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: Lateral Leverage, Paw Positioning, Paw Persistence, and FootWork.
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 Blocking: Applying it all: Power, Agility, Frame, Combat Skills, Processing Speed, and Motor.
Pass Blocking: Power, Agility, Frame, Combat Skills, Processing Speed, and Motor.
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 in the Passing Game. The capacity to Stand One's Ground.
* Drive Power in the Running Game. The capacity to drive your man back.
* 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.
* Reading & Reacting to Defensive Schemes & Stunts quickly and effectively.
* Field Vision: Finding Targets & approaching them effectively.
* Power ~ Drive Power to project Power in the Running Game.
* Agility ~ especially Acceleration DownField or to the Flank.
* Frame ~ especially Vertical Leverage.
* Combat Skills.
* Processing Speed.
* Power ~ Anchoring Strength to reject Power in the Passing Game.
* Agility ~ especially Fluidity to Mirror the Pass Rusher.
* Frame ~ especially WingSpan.
* Combat Skills.
* Processing Speed.
Power: Impressive, both anchoring against the Pass Rush and driving in the Running Game.
* Update: Still going with Impressive, though I have higher Standards for Guards than for Tackles in that Aspect.
Agility: Impressive, all around: Launch Velocity out'f'is Stance, Fluidity to Mirror in Pass Protection or to redirect in the Open Field, and equally impressive Speed to the Flanks and DownField for a 320 Pounder.
* Update: Still going with Impressive, but with extraordinary Potential. Now that I'm rating Dawkins as an Offensive Guard, I'm not only engaging lower Agility Standards than I do for an Offensive Tackle, where Agility is concerned, I'm also keeping in mind both the skewing effects of watching a prospective Offensive Guard playing Offensive Tackle on Tape, and also the extraordinary Intrinsic Fluidity strongly suggested by Dawkins's Short Shuttle and 3 Cone Times at The Combine. Should he manage to translate those Numbers into a similar level of Functional Agility on the GridIron, he'll become one of the greatest Athletes in this Game. This of course is an entirely theoretical Scenario, only possible if his prospective Team sees fit to convert'm to Guard, but should his Team invest quality Time & Training in that Conversion, and should he possess the Intelligence and Drive to embrace and implement it, his Functional Agility would skyrocket.
Frame: Exceptional. While most would consider Dawkins on the short side for Offensive Tackle, I believe that his compact Frame is perfect, giving him the Right Height for tremendous Vertical Leverage. His WingSpan looks sufficient.
* Update: Magnificent. He's got excellent Height for a Guard, and his WingSpan is sensational.
Combat Skills: Tremendous. Dawkins exhibited remarkable Command of Lateral Leverage, consistently working to get square or better with his Foes. His Paw Positioning was likewise outstanding as he consistently hit the Frame of his Opponents, not the Perimeter, and he consistently exhibited excellent Paw Persistence and FootWork.
Processing Speed: Effective. A 4 Year Starter, Dawkins displayed effective Speed & Efficacy both in Reading and Reacting to Defensive Deception in Pass Protection and in Locating & Approaching Targets in the Running Game.
Motor: Impressive. Exceptional Intensity. Adequate Endurance.
Run Blocking: Exceptional. Dawkins is a terrific Fit for a Power Scheme Team Right Tackle, although I believe that he could play Left Tackle effectively and indeed that he has the Agility to play Zone. His best Match, though, is definitely as a Right Tackle on a Power Scheme Team, where he's got the Power, the compact Frame, the WingSpan, and the tremendous Combat Skills to be dominant at The Point of Attack and enough Speed to raise some Hell, Behind Enemy Lines!!
Pass Blocking: Impressive. Dawkins has Power, and has consistently exhibited the Fluidity to Mirror effectively, but it's his tremendous Combat Skills that enables'm to routinely keep in front of agile Opponents.
Dion Dawkins seems like a remarkably versatile Prospect. I believe that he projects not only as a Right or Left Tackle and in either Power, Zone, or an hybrid Scheme, but that he could play either Right or Left Guard, as well. Indeed, as more Tapes and Measurements come in over the next few months, I might very well consider redesignating him!!
As it is, though, Dawkins exhibits a tremendous, compact Frame, an impressive fusion of Power and Agility, and the terrific Combat Skills that I believe translate into an impressive Pass Blocker and an potentially dominant Run Blocker.
And that compact Frame translates into tremendous Potential for excellent, long term Health.
If you're wondering how I discern my Idea of "Market Value", it's based upon sweeping Research of the InterNet, to gauge who is thinking what, with a particular emphasis on the savvier Sites, including this estimable one, which exhibits a remarkably acute Understanding of the Tendency for the Stock of QuarterBacks, in particular, to ascend.
* Update: I still believe that Dawkins's remarkable WingSpan would allow'm to compete effectively at Offensive Tackle, but having now got his Height Numbers, I believe that his optimal Role is clearly at Offensive Guard. I read Scouting Reports that expressed Doubts about his Agility, but I believe that what we saw there was a reflection of his playing too far out on the Perimeter, and I'm thinking that were he shifted Inside to take on the Responsibilities of a Guard ~ particularly if he were effectively coached during his Conversion ~ his Functional Agility would come to match the Intrinsic Agility that he displayed at The Combine. And should that transpire, Dawkins's combination of Power, Agility, combined with that sprawling WingSpan, would translate to immense, multiple Pro Bowl Potential at the next level.
I had'm at Warrior/2nd Round as an Offensive Tackle, but I'm bumping'm!!
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!!