Crimson Tide ~ 6020/198
Being Linemen, they are indeed required to line up on the Line of Scrimmage before the Snap, unlike the others.
As this places them nose to nose with the opposing CornerBack ~ whereas the SlotBacks & Flankers are allowed to align a couple steps back, thus affording them more room to maneuver ~ they need to be beefier.
*Please do note, though: Schematically, the Split End is whoever lines up as the Split End...But for the purposes of these Scouting Reports, I am applying this NomenClature to those who are Split Ends by trade, so to speak: Those whose Skills Sets apply best to that particular Job Description. What their Coaches might do with them, once they're drafted, is another matter all together. Ditto, Flankers & SlotBacks. In any case, many play multiple Roles.
The most compelling Attributes of a Split End, in the 21st Century, are, in my view, and in no particular order:
Separation. Getting Open. This encompasses their ability to beat Press, their Acceleration out'f the Blocks, their Routing Precision, their Agility, their Ricochet, their capacity to outsmart Defenders, and their Instincts.
Catching. This encompasses Hands, Catch Radius, Vertical Agility, and Timing.
Navigation. How well he Navigates the Field in Pursuit of Yards After Catch: Power, Agility, and Field Vision.
Blocking. Having a WideOut who doesn't Block effectively is like having 10 Men on the Field of Battle.
Catching ~ Outstanding. Norwood exhibits consistently tremendous Concentration, consistently excellent Extension, soft Hands, exceptional Contortionist Agility, impressive Combat Skills at the Point of Impact, and great Timing. He wins.
Navigation ~ Adequate. Doesn't possess the Power or Ricochet to terrify, but he's Fluid, tough, and doesn't waste Yards.
Blocking ~ Exceptional. There is room for more significantly more Core Power on Norwood's Frame, and if he develops it, he's going to be a phenomenal Blocker, because while his Paw Power is mediocre, his Combat Skills are extraordinary, and his Motor is consistent and strong. He is a Craftsman in every Aspect of this Great Game.
It's not rare for me to affix a lofty Grade to a Prospect generally considered a Day 3 Talent, but it's rare that it feels so clear.
The extraordinary Matt Waldman, in his Rookie Scouting Portfolio, put it far more eloquently than I'm about to, but suffice to say: I believe that the general Perception of Kevin Norwood ~ or at least my Perception of the general Perception ~ has been dramatically distorted by a combination of Alabama's relentless focus on the Running Game and on Anthony McCarron's limited FirePower: Kevin Norwood is far more Agile than generally perceived.
I break WideOut Prospects's Games down into 4 main Aspects, but I do not consider those 4 Aspects created equal.
If I were to break it down into numeric Grades and assess percentages, I'd say that Separation and Catching account for about 2/3 of my entire Grade...And within those most crucial Aspects of the Game, Norwood is tremendous.
Kevin Norwood is a dedicated Craftsman, a kid who is by all accounts an enthusiastic Zealot about mastering this Game, and one who approaches every Aspect of it with relentless Attention to Detail and a clear Appetite for Greatness.
He is already ready to contribute, and contribute significantly, at The Next Level. His Route Running is exceptionally refined and advanced, his Field Vision is sensational, and his Attention to Detail in every Aspect of Route Running ~ Timing, Tempo, finding the Open Zone ~ is exemplary. He will earn his QuarterBack's Trust immediately.
And he is awesome at the CatchPoint.
It's no secret that he was Alabama's Go To Guy whenever they needed a crucial Catch.
Not only do I believe that Kevin Norwood is one of the most Battle Ready WideOuts coming out this Year ~ which of course jacks up his Return On Equity significantly, as other, more talented Prospects take a Year or two to get their Games to where his is right now ~ I believe that he will prove to be one of the very best WideOuts of this entire venerable Draft Class...and will be as huge in Big Games at The Next Level as he was with Alabama, making Big Plays long after New Year's Day, against the best Defenses in the World, when The Only Games That Really Matter are played.
Thanks, as always, to the extraordinary Work by the men of Draft BreakDown!!
Consensus Market Value