State Seminoles ~ 5076/185
I can no longer abide the application of the pathetically weak and flaccid term "Safety" to Gladiators.
It is struck from my Vocabulary.
The erstwhile "Free Safety" is truly the CenterFielder of the Defense. Honestly, I consider the term absolutely perfect.
And the erstwhile "Strong Safety", playing an increasingly hybrid Role and constantly improvising, is a RoverBack, I think.
When analyzing the Merits of a prospective CenterFielder, this is how I personally break things down:
Intangibles: Diagnostic Acuity, Field Vision, and, above all: Processing Speed. And of course: Motor. Motor Matters.
Agility: Acceleration, Fluidity, and Closing Speed. And of course: Verticity!! Turning & Burning in Direct Coverage.
Pass Prevention: Timing, Vertical Burst, WingSpan, and don't forget the Brutality!!
Run Support: Appetite, Tactical Discipline, and Combat Skills ~ working through Traffic & Tackling Mechanics.
Agility: Magnificent. Joyner is blessed with utterly phenomenal Acceleration, Fluidity, and Closing Speed.
Pass Prevention: Awesome. Yes. Awesome. He is short, that's for sure, and as a Nickel Corner in Direct Coverage, he'll lose a few Battles because of it. But the overall Package he brings is outstanding: Even at the CatchPoint in Direct Coverage, his active, violent Hands, his extraordinary Core Power, and his remarkable Timing and Vertical Agility will win him many a Battle. And on half the Downs or more he will of course be playing CenterFielder. And as the CenterFielder, Height hardly matters at all. What'll matter is his Field Vision, his Processing Speed, his Sense of Timing, his Acceleration, and his Closing Speed...And LaMarcus Joyner commands those skills in Abundance.
Run Support: Amazingly: outstanding. Joyner is short, but is by no means small. He has forged extraordinary Core Power and he hits with stunning Ferocity and Force. Just as crucially, he is a remarkably reliable and disciplined Tackler.
I am fully in accord with the Cavemen who believe that Joyner's Height or lack thereof will prove to be too much for even an Athlete of his considerable Gifts to overcome well enough to compete effectively outside the Hashes.
But I diverge dramatically with the thinking of those ~ Cavemen and otherwise ~ who believe that his Height will inhibit his ability to play at an extraordinarily high level at CenterFielder. That's "Free Safety", Earthlings. The Responsibilities and Dynamics of CenterFielder and CornerBack are dramatically different and require dramatically divergent SkillSets.
For one thing: The CenterFielder...is the CenterFielder. He has the advantage of watching the Play develop in front of him, to fly across the Field and get up a full head of steam as he approaches the CatchPoint. The CornerBack, on the other hand, is constantly frenetically trying to keep on eye on the QuarterBack and the Receiver as he tears DownField.
Honestly, I don't know how they do it.
I'd get Housed every single time.
The CornerBack needs to be big, strong, quick of mind, and, yes: of a certain Height. I gave Jason Verrett a 1st Round Grade because I believe that he is so damned Instinctive and Agile that he'll be an effective OutSide Corner and a magnificent Slot Corner, and because I give Double Word Score for playing Slot at an high level.
But, yeah: Just effective on the OutSide. There's only so much that Smarts & Agility can do.
And Verrett's 5091.
That inch and an half difference between Verrett and Joyner, for those of you scoring at home, is enormous.
So, no: I don't want Joyner playing OutSide on my Team. Not if I can help it.
But CenterField?? Oh, Hell, yeah.
The CenterFielder gets to see the Play develop in front'f'm.
The CenterFielder gets a running start.
The CenterFielder gets to employ Space & Time to his full Advantage, taking his Approach to the Play, both in terms of Angles and of Timing, to maximize his Tactical Advantage over the Receiver. This obviates Height Concerns.
And if I haven't persuaded you yet that a guy like LaMarcus Joyner can play CenterFielder at a potentially phenomenal level at The Next Level, despite his 5076 Height, then may I present to you: The Honey Badger.
The important lesson, here, I think, is this: Honey Badger doesn't give a Shit.
And neither do I.
Tyrann Mathieu's imminent Greatness didn't quite sink in entirely before the Draft, because I'm a dumb ass with glacial Processing Speed, but I can at least say that I realized what was about to happen before he ever played a Down:
"I think that lunatic is going to have a seismic effect on this Defense...and on this entire Team.
I believe that Tyrann Matthieu is going to take command of this Defense...and transform it."
It seems to me that one of the many changes impacting This Great Game this Century is going to prove to be the Evolution of CenterFielders into Hybrids: CenterFielders in Base Defense ~ whatever that is ~ and Slot Corners in Nickel.
And it seems to me that Tyrann Mathieu has broken New Ground, here, and shown us precisely what that Role might be.
And it seems to me that LaMarcus Joyner, with his extraordinary combination of Elite Level Intelligence, Field Vision, Agility, Core Power, and exquisitely focused and disciplined Passion, has the potential for Greatness.
Huge Thanks for the invaluable Work done by the Beasts at Draft BreakDown and NoonKick!!
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