Offensive Center ~ Forrest Lamp ~ Western Kentucky HillToppers ~ 6036/308
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 Centers:
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.
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: Exceptional. Lamp played Left Tackle at Western Kentucky, but at an unofficial 6033 seems to be a far better fit at Offensive Guard. He exhibited impressive Drive Power in the Running Game and excellent Anchoring Strength in Pass Protection, doing so even against Jonathan Allen and Timothy Williams and the Alabama Crimson Tide!!
Agility: Exceptional. Exceptional Launch Velocity out'f'is Stance, impressive Acceleration to the Flanks and DownField in the Running Game, and Lamp's Fluidity to Mirror in Pass Protection or redirect in the Open Field is excellent.
* Update: Outstanding. Combine Numbers, additional Tape, and the Revelation that Lamp was not a Guard playing Tackle but a Center playing Tackle ~ and that the Prism through which I watched needed to be further adjusted!! ~ revealed tremendous intrinsic Fluidity and extraordinary intrinsic Acceleration not necessarily evident at first.
Playing out'f Position will do that to you...and to the Perceptions of you.
Frame: Impressive. Lamp is the Right Height for optimal Vertical Leverage at Guard and his WingSpan looks adequate.
* Update: Mediocre. Yeah, that WingSpan was too short even for Guard, and is barely adequate for Center!! So I'm redesignating'm as a Center, and there his Height is higher than optimal for Vertical Leverage.
Combat Skills: Extraordinary. Lamp consistently exhibits an outstanding Command of Lateral Leverage, tremendous Paw Positioning, excellent Paw Persistence, and extraordinary FootWork. He routinely worked to get square or better and remain square or better with'is Opponents, persistently hit the Core, not the Perimeter, of his Foes, and consistently worked his Feet to sustain the ability to square up on'is Foes, and his Paws to keep blasting'm!!
He did this successfully against Louisiana Tech, but he also held his own against The Crimson Tide. For someone from a lower level School to've developed such a complete set of Combat Skills is astonishing.
Processing Speed: Tremendous. Outstanding Speed & Efficacy in Reading & Reacting to Defensive Deception in Pass Protection, and excellent Speed & Efficacy in Locating & Approaching Targets in the Running Game
Motor: Excellent. Excellent Intensity, excellent Stamina.
Run Blocking: Exceptional. We're talking about converting Lamp into an Offensive Guard, of course. I believe that his best Fit would be on a Zone Scheme Team, as Lamp's Power is far more acute in Anchoring and rejecting Power in Pass Protection than in projecting Power at The Point of Attack, a staple of a Power Scheme Team.
On a Zone Scheme Team, though, his impressive Speed, tremendous Fluidity, and above all his outstanding Processing Speed would all play to maximum Advantage in enabling'm to Wreak Havoc, Behind Enemy Lines!!
Pass Blocking: Tremendous. Lamp bring excellent Fluidity to Mirror, excellent Anchoring Strength, a sharp, quick eye for sniffing out Defensive Deception, and simply extraordinary Combat Skills to the Field of Battle.
I am obviously an enormous Fan of Forrest Lamp. He got everyone's Attention with the way he handled himself against the Alabama Crimson Tide, but his Market Value, in my opinion, still falls far short of what his Game warrants.
But that's the way it always goes. The Market ~ what I can discern of it from various Sites around the Web ~ tends to treat Prospects from Second & Third Tier Colleges conservatively in the early going.
Not me, though!! I shamelessly reserve the right to attenuate my Grades as more Data comes in, but in my Experience, my 1st Impression of about 90% of the Prospects I write about changes very little over the Winter.
I call'm as I see'm, and while Forrest Lamp comes from Western Kentucky, the Kid has clearly gotten some great Coaching, because his Combat Skills and Processing Speed are outstanding.
More importantly, of course, is what that says about both his Intelligence and his Drive. Trajectory, baby!!
"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."
Lamp brings an exceptional combination of Power and Agility to the Field of Battle, and I say that the amazingly advanced levels both of Combat Skills and of Processing Speed and Field Vision that he exhibits shouts loudly and clearly that Lamp's Intelligence and Drive are Elite. And I believe that that translates into High Ceiling/High Floor!!
...as you Earthlings would say.
* Update: A change in Position, as the Combine Numbers revealed that Lamp's Frame is better suited for Center ~ rather than the Conversion from Tackle to Guard that I'd originally proposed ~ while his outstanding Processing Speed leaves little Doubt that he's got the Brains for the Job, but no change in Rank & Grade from me: SuperBeast!!
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!!