Bandit ~ Leonard Floyd ~ Georgia BullDogs
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:
Bandits ~ This is my term, derived from Defensive Schemes, for Players with the WingSpan for the Defensive Line yet who, unlike Dragons, lack the Size to play there regularly, because they can't be expected to Anchor against the Run.
They are thus the right Size though a bit tall to play MidFielder and can generally do so, but I believe are optimally employed as Wild Cards, deployed all over the Formation from Snap to Snap, usually in the murky, shifty region between the Defensive Line and the MidFielders, usually standing up, and generally giving no clue as to their Intentions.
I believe that the Bandit, whatever he's called in a given Formation, stands at the very EpiCenter of the disruptive Changes that Defensive Formations are undergoing today. Their unique combination of Size & Speed offers precisely that Wild Card Variable that I believe is potentially priceless for Defenses to compete and indeed to excel in the incessantly and rapidly evolving Strategic LandScape of the 21st Century. The Prototype would be around 6030/245 or so, I'd say.
As the ultimate Defensive Hybrid, Bandits could quite conceivably Rush the Passer, Blitz the Run, or Drop into Coverage on any given play, and from virtually any alignment on the Line or in the BackField. They won't anchor against the Run very effectively, they won't overwhelm with Power in their Pass Rush, and they're not built to Turn & Burn with WideOuts in Coverage, but they are in fact optimally built to conceivably compete effectively in all three Facets of the Game.
Of course, where and how any given Coach chooses to deploy his Players is his Business. Players that I characterize as Bandits may often or even routinely 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 Bandits, 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 still fails if you can't dig in your heels. But Core Power enables a Defensive Lineman to project Power in the Passing Game and to reject Power in the Running 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 Defense: Power, Agility, Combat Skills, Navigating Traffic, Processing Speed, Motor, and Tackling.
Pass Coverage: Agility, Processing Speed, and Catch Point Capacity.
Pass Rush: Power, Agility, and Combat Skills.
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 in the Pass Rush.
* 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. Rapidly Reading & Reacting to the Offense.
* Motor ~ Intensity and Duration.
* Combat Skills
* Navigating Traffic
* Processing Speed
* Processing Speed
* Processing Speed
* Catch Point Capacity
* Combat Skills
Agility: Phenomenal. Explosive Launch Velocity. Extraordinary Closing Speed. Magnificent Fluidity.
Combat Skills: Mediocre, but with tremendous Potential. Mediocre Mechanics, but an extraordinary WingSpan.
Intangibles: Impressive Field Vision, impressive Motor. Outstanding Conditioning.
Run Defense: Marginal. Floyd's phenomenal Agility could translate into extraordinary Range, but his deficient Power and mediocre Combat Skills make navigating Traffic challenging and render'm a big Liability at The Point of Attack.
Pass Coverage: Tremendous. Floyd's impressive and improving Field Vision, combined with his terrific Agility, translate to extraordinary Pass Coverage Potential. Despite Height that's usually detrimental to Verticity ~ Turn + Burn Acuity ~ he's utterly serpentine in Coverage, and projects to play Man Coverage every bit as well as Zone.
Pass Rush: Impressive and potentially extraordinary. Floyd's lack of Power is an huge Liability, and he's got a lot of Work to do in developing his Pass Rush Repertoire, but his Field Vision and Processing Speed are manifest when he rushes the Passer, which, combined with an impressive Motor and the intriguing Development he's already displaying on the BattleField, persuade me that he's a strong Bet to invest the Time & Training he's going to need to. I don't foresee Dominance, mind you, but that WingSpan, that Fluidity, and that Speed translate to explosive Potential.
I and the rest of the FootBall World graded Dion Jordan and Barkevious Mingo very highly in 2013, but in light of the fact that both are well on their way to proving to be Busts, I'd be a Fool not to try to learn from that.
Jordan and Mingo ~ who I was then and am now an huge Fan of ~ were Prospects that I would've characterized as Bandits, not as Dragons, as I did that Year, had I at that time been employing that Category. Bandits are of course a very recently emerging Category of Prospects whose Dimensions fall somewhere between Dragon and MidFielder.
And Jordan and Mingo ~ and Leonard Floyd ~ might be considered a SubSet of that SubSet: Bandits of particularly great Height relative to their Weight...And therein, I suspect, lies the Problem with Jordan and Mingo...and of Floyd.
When my Obsession with The Draft first burst upon me back in 2010, a Year before I forged this Site, I craved Height.
But Years and Experience have persuaded me that Height...is a dangerous thing.
In fact: I'll be ratcheting down my Bandit ProtoType, Today ~ from 6050 to 6030/245.
For reasons that I am pitifully unable to correctly explain, it seems to me that the taller an Athlete is, the more Core Power he needs to possess just to compensate for a Leverage Liability that is proportionate to his excessive Height, relative to his Opponent: If two 300 Pound Foes of equal Muscle/Fat Ratios compete, one 6040 and the other 6070, I believe that the shorter guy will dominate, because he's more...compact. I don't know a better way to put that, yet.
If Floyd was 6054 and 270 Pounds, I wouldn't be concerned about'm.
And if he was 6000 and 245 Pounds, I wouldn't be worried about'm.
But at 6054/245, I believe that he is an enormous Liability at The Point of Attack in Run Defense, and I believe, though I am fond of laughing at those who persist in describing Run Defense Specialists as "Two Down Defenders", that it's gonna be dangerous for Defensive Coordinators to deploy Floyd on the BattleField in anything but definite Passing Downs.
And those are only about a third of the Snaps.
I believe that Floyd projects as a wonderful Weapon on such Plays, though, because his Potential in Pass Coverage and in the Pass Rush are outstanding, and he impresses me as a guy with precisely the Motor and Intelligence that my Trajectory Equation calls for in determining the Chances of his fulfilling his Talent. And his Talent is terrific.
And let me add, if I may, that as always my Prospectii ~ yeah, I just decided to say To Hell with "Prospectuses" as a plural form!! ~ are always predicated on the theoretical notion of a Prospect's prospective Team ~ haw ~ deploying him in a manner that optimizes his Skill Set, and that Bandits ~ being of a very new Skill Set, so new, in fact, that I and I alone employ the term as a Skill Set!! ~ are often misused, as indeed I believe my man Barkevious Mingo has been.
They are not stationary Weapons that should be confined to the same Role, Snap to Snap.
They are Wild Cards.
But Mingo's ~ and Jordan's ~ floundering has persuaded me of what I've come increasingly to believe over the Years about Height and the potentially Fatal Flaw of the Leverage Liability, and my perception, consequently, is that Prospects of Leonard Floyd's combined Height and Weight are in fact Targets in the Run Game at The Point of Attack.
It becomes a Question, I think, of determining the Chances of Floyd overcoming his current problems at the Point of Attack.
As such, I see Floyd as a Passing Down Specialist. That in itself is not novel, but with every other Scouting Report or Profile that I've read, the general perception ~ and the resulting Grade ~ seem to operate under the Expectation that he will eventually develop into a full time Player, presumably having become a far better Run Defender.
And I'd be the last guy to write that Possibility off.
But as a Betting Man, I'm here to say that I consider the Chances of that happening highly overrated!!
Grateful Thanks, as always, for the crucial Work done by the folks at Draft BreakDown!!
None of this is even remotely a Complaint, mind you, but rather a Warning!! Caveat Emptor!!