Yeti Tackle ~ Jaleel Johnson ~ Iowa HawkEyes
Old Roles are getting dramatically transformed, and virtually every Front 7 ~ or Front 6!! ~ Defensive Job Description is transitioning into an Hybrid Role where the Defender is asked to excel in multiple Roles and in multiple Fronts.
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:
Yetii ~ Yetis have the Size of Nose Tackles but the WingSpan of Defensive Ends. As such, they are genuine Hybrids, and can conceivably line up anywhere from Tackle to Tackle, across from the Offensive Line.
The Prototype would be somewhere around 6050/325 or so.
Of course, where and how any given Coach chooses to deploy his Players is his Business. Players that I characterize as Yetis may often or even routinely do 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 Yetii, 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 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. Above all: Pass Rush Repertoire.
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 Defense: All the Above, applied.
Pass Rush: Ditto.
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, Rushing the Passer.
* 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.
* Pass Rush Repertoire: Variety.
* Reading & Reacting to Offensive Blocking Schemes with Speed & Precision.
* Field Vision: Finding Targets & approaching them effectively.
Power: Marginal. Mediocre Torso Power. Deficient Core Power.
* Update: On Further Review: Mediocre. Dubious Core Power. Effective Torso Power.
Agility: Excellent. Terrific Launch Velocity, tremendous Fluidity, and impressive Closing Speed despite a lousy 40 Time.
Frame: Sufficient. WingSpan and Hands are both about average. Tweener Frame, between Bear and Yeti.
Combat Skills: Outstanding. Tremendous Paw Velocity, Paw Positioning, and Paw Persistence. Terrific Command of Lateral Leverage and outstanding FootWork. Impressive and improving Pass Rushing Repertoire.
Processing Speed: Mediocre.
* Update: Competitive.
Motor: Excellent. Terrific Intensity and tremendous Stamina.
Run Defense: Competitive, which is to say that he's marginal at the Point of Attack because of his lack of Core Power, but his Combat Skills, Agility, and Motor render'm exceptional In Pursuit, and potentially excellent.
Pass Rush: Impressive and potentially excellent. He's definitely a One Gapper with his inferior Power and superior Agility, and even within that context, Johnson's lack of Power will hinder'm considerably, but he possesses a tremendous combination of Agility and Combat Skills, and thus the Potential to be a genuine Impact Player.
He needs to develop faster and more effective Processing Speed and Field Vision, but if he goes to one'f those Attacking Schemes, his Liability against the Run might be reduced, and his Potential in the Pass Rush enhanced.
Those are substantial Variables, of course, and I believe that his Draft Value should reflect that. I believe that we're talking about a classic High Potential & High Risk Proposition, here: A Prospect whose deficient Core Power and mediocre Processing Speed may keep'm forever strapped to the Bench, or whose exceptional Drive, evidenced by his Intensity, Stamina, and well developed Combat Skills, are enough to overcome those Deficiencies and enable'm, with enough Coaching, Time, and Training, to develop into a competitive Run Defender and a tremendous Pass Rusher.
Me, I see plenty of Risk, but I like'is Chances.
* Update: As often as I tend to diverge with The Market on Prospects, I find, with no Surprise, that when I update a Scouting Report, The Market and I often roll in the same direction or converge in our Assessments.
That's why it's interesting to me that while we both saw a 3rd Round Value in Jaleel Johnson when I wrote this up in March, The Market ~ the Scouting Community and his actual place in the Draft ~ pushed'm back a half a Round, while I'll be pushing'm up a half a Round. When I took a Second Look, I decided that I'd moderately underestimated both his Processing Speed and his Power, both of which improved over the course of the 2016 Campaign.
Jaleel Johnson is enormous, he's talented, he's improving, and he is driven.
He could become a genuine Force in the Trenches.
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!!