Center ~ Mitch Morse ~ Missouri Tigers 6054/306
The Gutters are riddled with the Corpses of Teams that were built around so-called "skill" Players ~ teams that delighted their Fantasy FootBall Fans every Year, all the way until January...until The Only Games That Really Matter.
It is then, of course, that the Capacity ~ or lack thereof ~ to Move The Chains and protect the QuarterBack against PlayOff Caliber Defenses rears its ugly head. And another Team built for Fantasy FootBall bites the dust.
This is how I break things down, when I'm evaluating Centers:
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 will still fail if you simply can't dig in your heels. But Core Power enables an Offensive Lineman to project Power in the Running Game and to reject Power in the Passing 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 Blocking: Power, Agility, Combat Skills, Processing Speed, and Motor.
Pass Blocking: Power, Agility, Combat Skills, Processing Speed, and Motor.
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 in the Passing Game. The capacity to Stand one's Ground.
* Drive Power in the Running Game. The capacity to drive your man back.
* 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. Reading Defensive Schemes quickly and effectively, and finding 2nd Level Targets.
* Motor ~ Intensity and Duration.
* Power ~ Drive Power to project Power in the Running Game.
* Agility ~ especially Acceleration DownField or to the Flank.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
* Power ~ Anchoring Strength to reject Power in the Passing Game.
* Agility ~ especially Fluidity to Mirror the Pass Rusher.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
Agility: Impressive. Here, too, he graded far, far better at the Combine than on Tape: His Fluidity on Tape seems mediocre to me. However, his Launch Velocity and Short Speed, like his Long Speed, are indeed exceptional.
Combat Skills: Tremendous. Mind you, it is crucial at this point to keep in mind that WingSpan carries considerable weight in my Assessment of Combat Skills, and if I was grading Morse as an Offensive Tackle or even as a Guard, my Grade would be far lower. But his WingSpan works as a Center, and his Mechanics & Frequency are outstanding.
Intangibles: Outstanding. Relentless Motor and tremendous Field Vision & Processing Speed. Team Captain who, since High School, has moved from QuarterBack to WideOut to Center and then to Tackle. Brilliant and Driven.
Run Blocking: He hasn't played Center since 2012, so I'm projecting, but I'm going to go with Mediocre yet with exceptional Potential. His dazzling Combine doesn't even come close to translating to Tape, but he's a brilliant kid with tremendous latent physical Talent, and I believe that it's crucial to consider that he's still acclimating to the Beef he's laid on. Furthermore, Motor, Field Vision, and Combat Skills go a long way towards Success at Center.
Pass Blocking: Mediocre. I see less Potential for Growth in this regard, because the Straight Line Speed that he displayed on Tape as well as the Combine is obviously far more useful blocking UpField in the Run Game than it is Pass Blocking. Even so, I believe that his outstanding Field Vision will prove to be an invaluable albeit intangible Asset to'is Mates.
His Height says "Offensive Tackle", but his WingSpan screams "Center."
His Combine screams "SuperStar" but his Game Tape mumbles "Meh."
This cat belongs on The Island of Misfit Toys.
The reason that I like Mitch Morse anyway, even though he makes my Brain hurt, is that his Tape and his Resume reveal a kid with an outstanding Motor, a tremendous Mind, and extraordinary latent Power & Agility.
Mind you: I don't want to get carried away with the Combine Numbers. The Gutters are littered with the Corpses of Combine Heroes and Pro Day Heroes whose functional Power & Agility never showed up on the BattleField.
But when I consider Mitch Morse's tremendous Motor and outstanding and incredibly adaptive Mind, and when I consider also that he has reportedly gained 125 Pounds since taking on the Sport in High School, which strongly suggests that acclimating to his beefier new self might still be In Process, then I am considerably more inclined to allow for the Possibility that Young Morse might very well actualize some of that extraordinary but latent Power & Agility.
At the end of this Thought Process, what I come up with is a guy who, despite being taller than I like for a Center ~ the only Position he's really suited for, in my opinion ~ has a Puncher or even Lunatic Fringe Floor, but a Warrior or even Beast Ceiling, with the Stipulation, mind you, that Excellence or even Greatness seems possible, but that the Odds are nevertheless long ones...for while I am much more Optimistic about his Chances of actualizing those aforementioned physical Talents than I'd be under most circumstances, I wouldn't go so far as to say that I consider it likely.
Grateful Thanks, as always, for the crucial Work done by the folks at Draft BreakDown!!
This is not is even remotely a Complaint, mind you, but rather a Warning: Caveat Emptor!!