Cardinals ~ 6033/258
Such is the case with Defensive Ends. NFL Defenses have become more'r less evenly divided between "43" Teams and "34" Teams. Far more importantly, though, the line between "43" and "34" is rapidly becoming a very fuzzy one.
Teams are increasingly going with Hybrid Theory Concepts, and the result is that many "Positions" are becoming Hybrids.
Defensive Ends are at the very crux of this changing LandScape. Traditional "34" Ends are just as likely to be employed as 3 Tech Tackles, traditional "43" Ends are just as likely to be deployed as "34" Flank Defenders ~ "OutSide LineBacker", to you Earthlings ~ and both are increasingly being asked to morph between Roles.
As such, I consider the old notion of pretending that these guys all go into one "Defensive End" Category to be silly.
And I also find the idea of sub-categorizing them as "34" Ends and "43" Ends, while a step in the right direction, to be ridiculously inadequate: It ignores the fact that half these guys won't even be deployed that way, and it ignores the fact that a rapidly increasing number of Defenses are going to ask them to morph between Roles.
Lion is going to be my term for the 280 Pound Plus Defensive Ends who could project to Tackle.
Dragon is going to be my term for the 270 Pounders or less.
Within the 270's or in any unusual cases, it'll be a Judgement Call.
Lions will get drafted either to play "34" End, "43" Tackle...or both.
Dragons will get drafted either to play "34" Flanker, "43" End...or both!!
I should also add that some Prospects generally considered to be Defensive Tackles will fall under my definition of a Lion. Indeed, the way the Strategic & Tactical LandScape is evolving these days, it is of course not uncommon for an erstwhile Tackle to get kicked out to Defensive End. But of course what each Coach does with his Personnel is his Business.
My Purpose here is to try to categorize Prospects by Type, and I believe that there is substantial difference between Prospects who could play both End and Tackle and Prospects whose Skills Sets suggest that they do.
These latter are genuine Hybrids ~ Lions ~ and it is my Hope that those of you who honor my Site with your Visits will find my efforts to distinguish the one type from the other ~ wrought with Peril though it be!! ~ to be useful to your Purposes.
When evaluating Dragons, these are the Attributes to which I pay most particular attention:
Power. Above all: Core Power. Upper body Strength 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 Lineman to project Power in the Running Game and to reject Power in the Passing Game. And those Players who invest the time and effort to develop superior Core Power are far likelier to enjoy sustained good Health and stay on the Field.
Agility. Lateral 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. Mechanics. Launch Velocity, Paw Power, and Technique.
Intangibles. Diagnostic Capacity, Processing Speed, and Motor. How effectively he masters Spatial Diagnostics & Angles, how rapidly he recognizes and implements Blocking Schemes based on changing Defensive Tactics, and of course: Drive. How badly he wants it. These are of course difficult things to assess, but it's crucial to at least try to.
Agility. Phenomenal. Extraordinary Launch Velocity, exceptional Lateral Agility, and sensational Fluidity.
Combat Skills. Raw. Active, violent Hands, but very technically Raw. He's a recent former QuarterBack, and it shows.
Intangibles. Tremendous. Excellent Motor, and outstanding Field Vision. He's a recent former QuarterBack, and, as mentioned, it definitely shows. Incredible Versatility which exhibits advanced Command of the Tactical LandScape.
Agility is far more daunting.
I feel the same way about Dragoons ~ Knights ~ who play Roles, much like Offensive Tackles, where Agility is utterly vital.
Marcus Smith is a Raw Recruit, but I discount that heavily, both because he was QuarterBack out of High School ~ and a damned good one ~ who's only been playing Defense for little more than 3 Years, and of course because his Growth on the Defensive side of the Ball has been absolutely spectacular.
Smith's fusion of Explosiveness and Fluidity is very, very rare, and his Intelligence and Field Vision, as exhibited by his deploying extensively at Defensive End, at Flanker ~ "OutSide LineBacker", to you Earthlings ~ and at Defensive Tackle, and being employed in the Pass Rush, in Contain, in Shadow, or in Coverage, as the Tactical LandScape warranted it, makes clear his Head Coach's trust in Smith's Capacity to effectively and Rapidly Read & React in the Heat of Battle.
That says a lot to me, as does the fact that he started from Scratch less than 4 Years ago, and has come Light Years towards become a potentially terrorizing Weapon in an Attack Defense at The Next Level.
Will he complete the Journey? Well, the Mechanics need a load of Work, but when I multiply his explosive Launch Velocity times his incredible Fluidity times his rapid Ascension to the central Weapon in one of College's most ferocious Defenses times the QuarterBack Resume and the implicitly deep Confidence his Coaches had in him to align'm all over God's Creation and count on'm to Rapidy Read & React correctly and effectively...Yeah, I like his Chances.
It's About Trajectory, baby!!
Thanks, as always, to the extraordinary Work by the men of Draft BreakDown!!
Consensus Market Value