Offensive Guard ~ Joseph Dahl ~ Washington
State Cougars ~ 6040/304
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 Offensive Guards:
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 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 Blocking: Power, Agility, Combat Skills, Processing Speed, and Motor.
Pass Blocking: Power, Agility, 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.
* 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. Reading Defensive Schemes quickly and effectively, and finding 2nd Level Targets.
* Motor ~ Intensity and Endurance.
* Power ~ Drive Power to project Power in the Running Game.
* Agility ~ especially Acceleration DownField or to the Flank.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
* Power ~ Anchoring Strength to reject Power in the Passing Game.
* Agility ~ especially Fluidity to Mirror the Pass Rusher.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
Agility: Impressive. Decent Launch Velocity. Mediocre Acceleration. Exceptional Fluidity.
Combat Skills: Exceptional. Decent Paw Positioning. Tremendous Paw Persistence. Awesome FootWork.
Intangibles: Awesome. Tremendous Field Vision and a magnificent Motor.
Run Blocking: Dahl is the first Guard that I've studied this Year ~ and of course he's a Tackle Convertible ~ who seems to me to project equally well in Zone or Power. In either Scheme, his Power is a Liability, but his Acceleration isn't well outfitted for Zone, either. Yet in either Scheme his Fluidity, Combat Skills, and Field Vision are Assets.
Pass Blocking: Yet another first for me this Year: Dahl is the first Guard I've studied whose Pass Blocking Potential is more impressive than his Run Blocking Potential!! All those hundreds of Snaps at Left Tackle on the Cougars doubtlessly helped develop that, but the fact is that he was a good fit for Left Tackle in College and played at an elite level.
Prospects with mediocre Core Power, it seems to me, don't usually improve it too much, and my perception is that Dahl is one such Prospect. For that reason, I believe that he'd be better on a Zone Blocking Scheme Team.
However, his Acceleration to the Flanks and the MidField were generally pretty sluggish, which is of course detrimental to'is Value for both kinds of Blocking Schemes, but especially in Zone, where Space has a big place.
Even more paradoxically, he is a Guard who, in my view, projects far better as a Pass Blocker than as a Run Blocker.
But that's what they pay those Coaches those Bloated Salaries for, right?
Playing to their Players's Strengths.
And by the way: I am aware that it's not traditional to follow a "s'" with another s. Gotta be me, baby!!
I don't know the complexities of Zone Scheme Run Blocking well enough to break it down, but I expect that one can mix and match well enough to make the most of Dahl's Fluidity and other Skills while minimizing the number of Plays where he'd need to cover a great Distance quickly. Even so: His sluggish Acceleration is an undeniable Tactical Liability.
So we're talking about an Offensive Guard Prospect who's a Tackle Convertible with mediocre Core Power and mediocre Speed who is therefore a potential Target in Power Schemes and a bit of a drag in Zone.
That's no less than 3 significant impediments to Success.
Yet we're also talking about a Prospect with a Lion's Share of Intelligence, Field Vision, Combat Skills, and Drive.
Talent x Intelligence x Drive = Potential/Risk.
Despite all the aforementioned impediments, I believe that Joseph Dahl carries a very low Risk of Failure.
I like his Chances of succeeding in a Zone Scheme, especially on a Team that emphasizes the Passing Game, provided that the Lions ~ I haven't checked ~ or the Team that ends up with'm employs that approach.
And I believe that he's got the Potential to become a competitive Run Blocker and an excellent Pass Blocker.
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!!