Lion End ~ Hassan Ridgeway ~ Texas LongHorns 6033/304
For that reason, and in order to offer NomenClature that speaks not to archaic, obsolete "Positions", but rather to Skill Sets that accurately reflect the dynamic Changes of the 21st Century Game and the Roles they have spawned, I have undertaken to craft Terminology that is designed to break Skill Sets down as they really are.
Defensive Coordinators have, since Time Immemorial, employed highly creative terminology in devising Defenses and in designating Assignments. In that Spirit, I have admittedly indulged myself considerably in devising the following NomenClature. It is undeniably colorful, but I like to think that there's an underlying Logic, as well:
Lions ~ This is my term for Defensive Linemen with the Size of a smaller and faster Defensive Tackle and the WingSpan of a Defensive End. Like the Grizzlies, they can line up at End in a 34 or at Tackle in a 43, or just about anywhere in either Formation, and conceivably play either 1 Gap or 2 Gap. The Prototype would be about 6050/300 or less.
Of course, where and how any given Coach chooses to deploy his Players is his Business. Players that I characterize as Lions may often or even routinely line up anywhere, on any given Down. My only purpose is simply to identify what I perceive as Skill Sets, to distinguish types, if you will, and perhaps create a universal Point of Reference.
When evaluating Lions, this is how I break down the Attributes to which I pay most particular attention:
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 still fails if you can't dig in your heels. But Core Power enables a Defensive Lineman to project Power in the Passing Game and to reject Power in the Running 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 stiff and lumbering out there.
Combat Skills: Paw Power, Mechanics ~ Hand Speed & Positioning ~ and of course: Frame.
Intangibles: Processing Speed and Motor. Processing Speed or Diagnostic Velocity is about how quickly and effectively one Reads & Reacts to how the Rapidly Roiling Tactical LandScape effects Blocking Schemes, and Motor is about Endurance and Drive: How much Work has been put into Conditioning, and how it manifests itself.
Run Defense: Power, Agility, Combat Skills, and Processing Speed.
Pass Rush: Power, Agility, and Combat Skills.
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 against the Run.
* Drive Power in the Pass Rush.
* Fluidity, above all things: Core Agility & Flexibility makes everything possible.
* Launch Velocity ~ Speed into Contact off the Snap.
* Acceleration ~ Short Speed or Quickness.
* Frame ~ Arms, Hands, and above all: WingSpan.
* Field Vision ~ Reacting to the Tactical LandScape: It's all about Angles & Leverage.
* Paw Positioning ~ It's all about Angles & Leverage.
* Paw Persistence ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* FootWork ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* Processing Speed ~ Field Vision. Rapidly Reading & Reacting to the Offense.
* Motor ~ Intensity and Duration.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
* Combat Skills
Agility: Impressive. Mediocre Fluidity, but exceptional Launch Velocity and Acceleration.
Combat Skills: Competitive. Tremendous Effort. Mediocre Mechanics and WingSpan.
Intangibles: Mediocre but with exceptional Potential. Tremendous Motor for Sprints, Bad Motor for Marathons. Conditioning is clearly an Issue, as I read in many places, but my impression is that an huge part'f'is Problem is that he's rapidly ascended from 250 Pounds to 300, and that he's still acclimating himself to it. His Processing Speed is also mediocre, but again I am inclined to make Allowances for that, as he didn't start playing FootBall until High School.
Run Defense: Potentially excellent. I don't envision great Range, as his exceptional Acceleration is hindered by his mediocre Fluidity, but his Motor and Launch Velocity could translate into'im becoming an exceptional BackField Disruptor, and his outstanding Power and Motor could translate into a tremendous Force at The Point of Attack.
Pass Rush: Mediocre but with excellent Potential. He's raw as Hell, mind you, and his WingSpan isn't doing'm any Favors, but if he can develop a Pass Rushing Repertoire to match his Motor and complement his Power and Launch Velocity, there's definite Potential, there, particularly rushing from the 1 Tech or the 3 Tech on the Inside.
Yeah, I don't presume to know the guy, so I could very well be wrong ~ of course not many of my Positions are absolute, and neither is this one. But I don't buy the Narrative that Ridgeway has egregious "Conditioning Issues."
He has'm, sure. I'll not deny it.
But I tend to believe that they ~ and his Health Issues, which I do agree are directly related ~ are more reflective of the fact that he's only relatively recently taken on FootBall, having done so only in High School.
He skyrocketed from 250 Pounds to 300 since he joined Texas a few Years ago, as well ~ most of it good weight, it seems to me ~ and that take a lot of getting used to, which should compound his Issues acclimating to FootBall.
I'm not saying that he's a Genius, or a relentless workaholic Gym Rat, mind you.
I'm just saying that I believe that Tales of Hassan Ridgeway's Sloth have been greatly exaggerated.
Indeed, the Motor that I see when The Tape runs says precisely the opposite.
Field Vision? Mediocre. But that isn't shocking, considering that he'd never played FootBall until High School.
Hassan Ridgeway has the Power, the explosive Launch Velocity, and the Motor ~ and here I diverge dramatically with The Market and most Earthlings ~ to become an outstanding Run Defender and a Pass Rushing Force.
The Question is of course twofold: Is he Intelligence enough and is he motivated enough to put in the Time & Training that he'll need to, in order to develop those Skills to their fullest Potential and make a real Impact?
Intelligence? I don't know. But I have no particular reason to doubt it.
The Colts made a considerably wise Decision.
Grateful Thanks, as always, for the crucial Work done by the folks at Draft BreakDown!!
None of this is even remotely a Complaint, mind you, but rather a Warning!! Caveat Emptor!!