Split End ~ Michael Williams ~ Clemson Tigers
Split Ends are usually the bigger, taller WideOuts who line up in the X Position, on the Line of Scrimmage.
SlotBacks are usually the quicker, smaller WideOuts who line up at the Y Position, off the Line.
FlankerBacks are usually the faster WideOuts who line up at the Z Position, off the Line.
The Split End prototype would be about 6030/225 or so.
The Flanker prototype would be about 6000/200 or so.
The SlotBack prototype would be about 5010/195 or so.
And I'm adding a 4th: The Slot End.
The term may make some Readers cringe, for the same reason that the term "Jumbo Shrimp" might.
And it's a term, as far as I know, entirely of my own Invention.
But it is of course the perfect Tactical term for a WideOut lined up in the Slot yet on the Line of Scrimmage.
And it strikes me as an excellent term to describe a WideOut who's not necessarily tall ~ like a Split End ~ not necessarily fast ~ like a FlankerBack ~ and not necessarily spry ~ like a SlotBack ~ and is often a bit Beefy. Not necessarily beefy enough to take on a Flex End's Blocking Responsibilites, but beefy enough for a Split End's.
I'm talking about WideOuts who're well suited to catch Balls in Traffic, and Move The Chains.
However a given Coach chooses to deploy the Soldiers at his disposal is of course entirely up to him, and most WideOuts will see Snaps at multiple Positions and in multiple Alignments, but I believe that it is valuable to categorize WideOuts in terms of classic Skill Sets, to better define the differences in the kind of Impact they might wield at the next level.
This is how I break things down when I'm evaluating all WideOuts:
Separation: Getting Open. This encompasses Combat Skills & Fluidity to beat Press, Acceleration out'f the Blocks, Fluidity and Ricochet in navigating Traffic, Route Running Precision, the capacity to deceive Defenders, and Field Vision for Timing Seems and Open Zones. All other Aspects of a WideOut's Job Description are dwarfed by this one.
Catch Point Capacity: In Transit or Contested: Hands, WingSpan, Vertical Agility, Combat Skills, and Timing.
Yards After Catch are well and fine, but it seems to me that 90% of the Value of a Flex End and any WideOut is getting open and catching the Ball. Anyone who's read my Work extensively knows that I consider Blocking to be the Heart & Soul of FootBall, but that is a philosophical position, and I recognize that with most Philosophies, where it comes to Wide Receivers and Flex Ends...it's just Gravy. And so is Yards After Catch: Moving The Chains is What Wins.
Chunk Yardage: An highly overrated Aspect of the Game, I believe, so much so that in fact I didn't even include it in 2016. It is not a negligible Aspect of the Game, so I'm bringing it back, but getting open, catching the Ball, and Moving the Chains are far more crucial to a Team's Success, I believe, than making Splash Plays and getting on ESPN HighLights Reels. Power, Fluidity, Ricochet, Speed, Combat Skills, and Processing Speed/Field Vision all play into Chunk Yardage.
Blocking: It was a Mistake to leave this Aspect ~ my very favorite Aspect of FootBall ~ out'f 2016's Flex End Reports, and I'm very happy to correct that Mistake, evermore. Blocking of course comes down to Power, Agility, Frame, Combat Skills, Processing Speed, and Motor, and further breaks down into In Line Blocking and Open Field Blocking.
Broken down into SubCategories, it'd go something like this:
* Combat Skills
* Field Vision
Catch Point Capacity
Catch Point Capacity
* Combat Skills
* Vertical Agility
* Combat Skills
* Field Vision
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
Separation: Extraordinary. Williams's Long Speed is merely average, but his Acceleration off the Line is impressive, his Ricochet out'f'is Breaks is exceptional, and his Fluidity is excellent. What sets him apart, though, is his phenomenal Processing Speed and Field Vision. Michael Williams is a Master of Route Running, and a Master of Deception.
He has quite clearly invested an enormous amount of Time & Training towards learning every possible Nuance and every possible Variation in Navigating Traffic on the Tactical LandScape...and in exploiting every Opportunity and learning everything about creating them. I'm not sure that he wouldn't routinely get open if he were blindfolded.
* Oh, I'm gonna Walk This Back substantially. There is a very thin line between Top 10 Talent and UFA Talent, as I am fond of saying, and On Further Review, I believe that I drastically overrated all Aspects of Williams's Agility. His Acceleration, Long Speed, Fluidity, an Ricochet are all dubious ~ somewhere between Mediocre and Marginal.
And while he's got the Frame to beat Press Coverage, his Power is mediocre and his Combat Skills marginal.
His Field Vision is exceptional, but his Route Running is raw.
I must've been drinking a lot'f Coffee, that Night.
I'm crashing this right down to Marginal.
Catch Point Capacity: Magnificent. Phenomenal Combat Skills, incredible Tracking and Timing, both In Transition and on Contested Catches, remarkable Vertical Agility for such a huge guy, and sensational Hands. Williams is utterly amazing, both In Transition and on Contested Catches. His Performance against Alabama was simply Legendary.
I simply cannot recall anyone better.
* Update: Did I write magnificent?? Williams's Catch Point Capacity is sensational.
Chunk Yardage: Exceptional. Williams exhibits excellent Fluidity and sensational Field Vision, but his moderate Power and Long Speed dampen his Big Play Ability. And yet he racks up huge Gains with his Route Running, alone.
Blocking: Impressive. Excellent Intensity. Moderate Power but exceptional Combat Skills.
It seems that there's been 600 young, talented Split Ends named Michael Williams over the last 20 Years...But this is the first one who's come out since I've been doing this, and he was well worth the wait!!
I love Prospects like Michael Williams, because he doesn't dazzle you with his his Speed ~ which is the sort of thing that'll get you ignored by the rest of the Draft Universe ~ yet has developed the Elements of his Game that matter far, far more than Speed on Sundays. His combination of Separation Skills and Catch Point Capacity is simply sensational.
Of course nobody is ignoring Michael Williams, not with his Clemson Tiger Pedigree and his phenomenal Performance in one of the greatest FootBall Games ever played, a few days ago!! But it'd be interesting to FaceSwap his Skill Set onto a Level 3 College Team, and take a look at where that sluggish Long Speed would land his Market Value!!
As it is, though, I couldn't agree with the Draft Universe more!! Michael Williams doesn't dazzle you with Speed, but his capacity to consistently Get Open at all Depths of the Field and haul in difficult Catches is magnificent, because despite that lack of blistering Speed, he manages to consistently rack up Chunk Yardage simply because he's so incredibly adept at rolling DownField, deceptively selling Routes, and thus opening up space for carving out Outs, Digs, Curls, and ComeBacks, that he's routinely already racked up enormous Chunk Yardage as soon as he catches the Ball!!
Risk/Reward?? Those who've read me before know where I'm going with that: Michael Williams, via the phenomenal level of Processing Speed and Field Vision, as well as Combat Skills, that he's developed, leaves me no doubt at all of his Intelligence or his Drive: He'll put in all the Time & Training he needs to put in, in order to be the very best that he can possibly be...and he will most definitely reap the full Benefit of his Studies, as he is evidently brilliant.
* Update: Yeah, this sort of Report is why it's so satisfying to me to revisit my earlier Evaluations and update them after I've had enough time to simmer down a bit. This is the first Year that I've set out to do so with every single Scouting Report, and while it's pushing back my Completion Date God knows how far ~ Memorial Day?? Hah!! ~ I'm absolutely loving the Sensation of knowing that I'm putting the very best version of my Work out there, for better or worse. No Regrets.
Writing those Words may well come across as Whacked, considering that I'm writing them in a Scouting Report about Mike Williams, who got drafted #7 ~ smack in the Range I, as well as The Market, valued his Services, back in January, and it might very well prove to be Whacked, as Williams is a Chain Moving Split End with legendarily beautiful Catch Point Capacity, one of my favorite Types...But I am nevertheless gonna diverge with The Majority, once again.
I like Michael Williams, and I believe that he's got a good Chance of eventually developing into a Starter, quite possibly a good one, and even possibly a great one...But with dubious Agility, mediocre Power, raw Separation Skills both against Press Coverage and in Route Running, I see two big Problems: First, he's gonna need a lot of Time & Training to transform into a Starter. Second...I don't see his Chances of Success as even remotely certain.
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!!