Mississippi State BullDogs ~ 6033/339
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...when The Only Games That Really Matter are played.
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.
I impart enormous importance upon Offensive Guards in my joyfully twisted World View of FootBall: Right up there with QuarterBacks, Defensive Tackles, and Centers in their potential Impact on The Only Games That Really Matter.
These are the Aspects of their Games that I place greatest emphasis on, when evaluating Offensive Guards:
Power. Above all: Core Power. Upper body Strength is important, but Core Power, from the Knees to the Ribs, is absolutely crucial. All the upper body strength in the world still fails if you can't dig in your heels. But Core Power enables a Lineman to project Power in the Running Game and to reject Power in the Passing Game. And those Players who invest the time and effort to develop superior Core Power are far likelier to enjoy sustained good Health and stay on the Field.
Agility. Lateral 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 stiff and lumbering out there.
Combat Skills. Mechanics. Launch Velocity, Paw Power, and Technique.
Intangibles. Diagnostic Capacity, Processing Speed, and Motor. How effectively he masters Spatial Diagnostics & Angles, how rapidly he recognizes and implements Blocking Schemes based on changing Defensive Tactics, and of course: Drive. How badly he wants it. These are of course difficult things to assess, but it's crucial to at least try to.
My notion of a Dream Guard would be one who combines all these traits but with great emphasis on Agility ~ a truly Athletic Offensive Guard who can run Power Sweeps all day long, as Jerry Kramer and Fuzzy Thurston once did with Vince Lombardi's Packers on their way to no less than 5 Championships in 7 glorious years!!
Agility. Exceptional. Tremendous Fluidity and impressive Lateral Velocity and Acceleration for such a Beast.
Combat Skills. A little raw with his Mechanics and with his Angles. Awesome Paw Power, though.
Intangibles. Marginal. Does not seem to read the Tactical LandScape either quickly or well, and his Motor is inconsistent.
His combination of outstanding Core Power, behemoth Size, and startling Agility add up to potential Dominance.
His Motor is a question, as are, in my opinion, both his Endurance and his long term Prospects. I strongly suspect that it's a matter of Conditioning, and that as long as he gets with a Team that provides him a consistent Training structure, and provided he takes full command of it, he stands a very good chance of forging an exceptional Career.
It seems to me, though, that there is considerable risk attached to the long term Prospects of someone who carries as much weight as Jackson does. In my view, his Talent and potential Impact easily warrant a 1st Round Grade. And I'll happily apply precisely that Grade if he manages to get his weight down under 330 by the Combine.
For now, though, I'm going to dial it back considerably, based on what I consider to be considerable Risk to Investment.
Thanks, as always, to the extraordinary Work by the men of Draft BreakDown!!
Perceived Market Value