Offensive Tackle ~ Laurence Gibson ~ Virginia Tech Hokies ~ 6057/304
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 Tackles:
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.
* Paw Power ~ The Power & Speed of the initial Punch.
* Paw Velocity ~ How active the Hands are.
* Paw Positioning ~ It's all about Angles & Leverage.
* Frame ~ Above all: WingSpan.
* Processing Speed ~ Field Vision. Reading Defensive Schemes quickly and effectively, and finding 2nd Level Targets.
* Motor ~ Intensity and Duration.
* 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: Excellent. Tremendous Launch Velocity and Exceptional Fluidity and Acceleration.
Combat Skills: Horrible yet with remarkable Potential because of a phenomenal WingSpan. Tons of Time & Training are needed, however, if he's ever to unlock that Potential. His Paw Persistence is adequate.
Intangibles: Adequate Field Vision and Sufficient Motor.
Run Blocking: Mediocre but with terrific Potential. Deficient at the Point of Attack but Impressive In Motion. He's got a long ways to go in developing his Power and his Combat Skills, but has tremendous Zone Blocking Potential.
Pass Blocking: Impressive and with phenomenal Potential. See above!!
His Success or Failure will depend of course on how quickly and how extensively he can develop his Combat Skills, his Field Vision, and, above all, his Power. If he can't develop a competitive level of Core Power, he's simply not going to succeed, regardless of how well he develops the other Aspects of his Game.
But I believe there's substantial reason for genuine Hope in that regard: Gibson's Power Numbers at The Combine ~ his Vertical and his Broad Jump are where I place most of my Emphasis, as I consider the Bench Press overrated ~ were extraordinary, and strongly suggested that there is a great deal of untapped Intrinsic Core Power there.
We'll see. If Gibson possesses the fanatical level of Intelligence & Drive to Study, to Drill, and to Work his Ass off for long enough, and if he gets the right kind of Strength & Conditioning Coaching to unleash that Power, while developing his Combat Skills and Field Vision, his Potential as a Zone Blocking Offensive Tackle could be sensational.
Whether or not he does, I can't say that I have a bead on, one way or the other.
But from my Vantage, he's certainly worth betting on!!
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!!