Wolf ~ Mario Edwards ~ Florida State Seminoles 6024/294
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:
Wolves ~ Wolves are the smaller, faster Defensive Tackles. Whereas Grizzlies will generally be counted on to command Double Teams and stop the Inside Run, Wolves will usually be asked to penetrate the Pocket and disrupt, especially against the Pass. The Prototype would be somewhere around 6015/300 or less, and they're getting smaller.
Of course, where and how any given Coach chooses to deploy his Players is his Business. Players that I characterize as Wolves 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 Wolves, 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, and Processing Speed.
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.
* 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. Rapidly Reading & Reacting to the Offense.
* Motor ~ Intensity and Duration.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
* Combat Skills
Agility: Competitive. Was lauded as an amazing Athlete a Year ago, and showed Flashes of it on 2013 Tape, but in 2014 and at the Combine he was far less impressive. Moderate Launch Velocity, Fluidity, and Acceleration.
Combat Skills: Mediocre. Mediocre Persistence. Competitive Mechanics. Flashes Excellence, but is horribly inconsistent.
Intangibles: Marginal. Adequate Field Vision, but enormous Questions about his Motor, his Passion, and his Drive.
Run Defense: Impressive and potentially Tremendous. Exceptionally Stout at the Point of Attack, but mediocre in Pursuit.
Pass Rush: Competitive but with Potential. Exceptional Power but moderate Agility and mediocre Combat Skills.
I tend to heavily discount Whispers of questionable Motivation, but I'm reading it from too many I respect and seeing far too much Evidence of it when I Roll The Tape ~ especially in comparing 2013 to 2014 ~ to ignore it.
Mario Edwards was a freaking 5 Star Recruit in 2009 ~ yeah, that's 6 Years ago!! ~ and by all accounts and even a random Flash or two on 2013 Tape brings extraordinary innate athletic Potential to the Field of Battle.
And I preach Trajectory...but Trajectory cuts both ways:
"Trajectory > A mercurial Formula that blends Talent, Speed of Improvement, and the Probability of continuing that Speed of Improvement, based on perceived Intelligence, Passion, and Work Ethic: Talent x Intelligence x Drive."
Intelligence and Drive are Multiples...And if one or the other is Deficient, the Prospect's Trajectory craters.
Such, I fear, is the case here, particularly Mister Edwards's Drive.
I'm the last guy in the World to Write Off a guy because of such Perceptions. There is always more than meets the eye, and sometimes a Bet on a guy like Vontaze Burfict, who I Mock Drafted a few Years ago, pays enormous Dividends.
But a wise man always adjusts Price to reflect Risk...And I believe that there is much more than generally perceived.
As far as Schematic Versatility is concerned, Mario Edwards is a flexible as his weight.
Haw. Sorry. Couldn't resist.
But, really: If this young man takes Command of his Future, he certainly has exceptional and perhaps outstanding Potential to play an effective Run Defender at either 43 Tackle or 34 End, and there's enough juice in there ~ and possibly far more than he's consistently shown us ~ to develop into a formidable Pass Rusher from either Position.
Whether or not he ultimately succeeds in actualizing those Talents is another matter.
I consider the Answer highly doubtful, and my Rank & Grade shall reflect this.
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!!