CenterFielder ~ JaCorey Shepherd ~ Kansas JayHawks ~ 5110/200
CenterFielders ~ This is my term for "Free Safeties", as I find the application of the term "Safety" ~ a limp, lame term, to put it kindly ~ to be an Asinine Appellation for a Gladiator. The Prototype would be about 6000/200 or so.
CenterFielders are indeed the Last Line of Defense. But I sense that with the increasing Hybridization of Skill Sets in the Years to come, it will be advantageous for Teams to seek CenterFielders who can not only act as a Reserve Defender in Support of their CornerBacks, but who can ~ at a moment's notice, if need be ~ flip into Direct Coverage.
As such, I have discovered a natural Synergy between the Skill Sets of CenterFielders...and NickelBacks.
CenterFielders, like RoverBacks and Gryphons, are Hybrids, tasked both with Pass Coverage and Run Defense. Unlike Rovers and Gryphons, however, CenterFielders are expected to prioritize Pass Defense. As such, I'll be breaking my Evaluations down along the same lines as with the others, but with a decidedly divergent Emphasis:
Agility: Acceleration, Ricochet, Fluidity, and Verticity ~ that's Turn & Burn Acuity, to you Earthlings!!
Processing Speed: How quickly and effectively one Reads & Reacts to the developing Play.
Run Defense: Power, Agility, Combat Skills, and Processing Speed.
Pass Coverage: Agility and Processing Speed.
Broken down into SubCategories, it'd go something like this:
* Fluidity, above all things: Core Agility & Flexibility makes everything possible.
* Ricochet ~ How crisply and how rapidly one breaks in a new direction.
* Acceleration ~ Short Speed or Quickness. Closing Speed.
* Verticity ~ The Ability ~ or lack thereof ~ to Flips Hips and Turn & Burn in Pass Coverage.
* How quickly and effectively one Reads & Reacts to the developing Play.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
* Processing Speed
Processing Speed: Exceptional and potentially Outstanding. Considering that it's been less than 3 Years since Shepherd transferred to the Defensive side of the Ball, I consider his Field Vision and Processing Speed amazing. And for'm to've developed so far in such a short time, I can only assume that there's some serious Brain Power at work, here, to say nothing of what must be terrifying Intensity and Drive, to've learned so much, so well, and in so little Time.
Run Defense: Adequate. Good Motor but Mediocre Combat Skills due to raw Mechanics.
Pass Coverage: Yet another of my Phantasmagorical Projections, Shepherd is currently Mediocre at best and, unlike most of my CenterFielder Convertibles, who are usually Spry Flies otherwise destined for NickelBack, Shepherd doesn't impress me as particularly effective in Direct Coverage, in either Man or Off Coverage, mostly due to that pedestrian Fluidity. But I can see him becoming Effective and even Impressive in Zone Coverage, due to his remarkable Processing Speed, Field Vision, and Straight Line Speed, all of which of course recommends him as a CenterFielder.
Shepherd, on the other hand, doesn't strike me as especially well equipped to deploy in Direct Coverage, even though he would presumably be doing so against a Team's 3rd or 4th WideOut or such, due to his mediocre Verticity.
However, I could definitely envision him developing into an effective Zone Coverage Corner on Passing Downs and also an equally effective CenterFielder on Running Downs and Ambiguous Downs, because I believe that his incredibly impressive Field Vision and Processing Speed translate perfectly for both of those Roles.
I don't necessarily perceive Star Quality Talent, mind you, but I do perceive just enough Agility to go, first off, with what must be a very intense level of Drive to've learned so much, so well, and so quickly, and, second off, unmistakably acute Diagnostic Talents that'll almost certainly only get even better with Time & Training.
I'm not gonna go off about Trajectory, but the Principle does apply.
I like Shepherd's Chances of contributing as a Reserve CenterFielder and Reserve Corner, especially for a Team that uses a lot of Zone Concepts, and I definitely like his Chances of competing for Starter's Snaps. He's a Good Bet.
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!!