Wolf ~ Michael Bennett ~ Ohio State BuckEyes 6020/294
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: Tremendous. Excellent Launch Velocity, remarkable Fluidity, and impressive Acceleration.
Combat Skills: Outstanding. Moderate Paw Power, but an outstanding WingSpan and extraordinary Mechanics.
Intangibles: Extraordinary. Phenomenal Processing Speed & Field Vision, and a strong Motor.
Run Defense: Superb. Bennett disrupts many Plays in the BackField with his excellent Launch Velocity, exceptional Combat Skills, and impressive Acceleration, and exhibits remarkably stout Anchoring Strength at the Point.
Pass Rush: Formidable. I don't consider Bennett's Drive Power anywhere near as impressive as his Anchoring Strength, but it's impressive enough, especially for his Size. What makes him Formidable in the Pass Rush, in my eyes, is the combination of excellent Launch Velocity ,outstanding Combat Skills, and impressive Closing Speed.
I'm a big Fan of Michael Bennett. The questions about his Motor and his Effort that I'm reading everywhere amuse me. His exceptionally developed Combat Skills and above all his phenomenal Field Vision and Processing Speed tell me everything I'll ever need to know about Michael Bennett's Passion and Work Ethic.
You don't develop those Skills to those levels by sitting on your Ass.
It takes Years of Dedication & Drill.
Combined with his clearly evident Intelligence, and Michael Bennett hits on all cylinders in my Book: His Trajectory, to me, is that of a guy who's gonna make the most of his considerable natural Talents and is going to constantly improve.
And it's always awesome when a Prospect hits high Grades in all 4 Categories.
I believe that Michael Bennett has a very good Chance to become an excellent Pass Rusher, and perhaps a great one. His combination of Speed, Fluidity, surprising Power, and excellent Combat Skills bode very well indeed.
And I expect that he'll prove remarkably adept as a Run Defender, as well. God knows that Double Teams would kill'm, as they'd kill anyone who's not 320 Pounds or so, but his Power seems to me to be far more impressive that he's generally given credit for, his Fluidity and Combat Skills will enable'm to beat many a Block, and his Launch Velocity and his phenomenal Processing Speed gives'm the capacity to be extraordinarily disruptive in the BackField.
I do believe that he's limited in terms of where he would optimally be deployed, mind you: You could line'm up just about anywhere, but for'm to excel, I think that Bennett should be deployed almost exclusively as a 43 Tackle.
But that doesn't bother me. After all: QuarterBacks don't tend to be versatile, either.
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!!