Volunteers ~ 5111/221
I've come to believe that any HalfBack that doesn't bring a Passing Game element to the BattleField is...incomplete.
Hence, the term "FlexBack" ~ although quite cool, I believe!! ~ short-circuits the Evaluation Process.
As to how I break them down, I expect that the terms are pretty self-explanatory:
PowerBacks ~ HalfBacks who do their best Work between the Tackles..
SpeedBacks ~ HalfBacks who do their best Work outside the Tackles.
The PowerBack prototype would be about 5115/220 or so.
The SpeedBack prototype would be about 5010/200 or so.
Those are gross oversimplifications, of course, and many HalfBacks will manifest Attributes of both styles. Indeed, Power and Speed ~ better yet: Agility ~ are crucial to the Success of either kind of HalfBack. But I believe that it advances the discussion and better serves my Fellow FootBall Fanatics if I make an effort to distinguish between types.
This is how I break things down, when evaluating all HalfBacks:
Power: Above all: Core Power. Upper body Power is important, but lower body Power, from the Knees to the Ribs, is absolutely crucial. An HalfBack's Capacity to break Tackles is more about Core Power than anything else.
Agility: Launch Velocity, Fluidity, Acceleration, and Ricochet. Long Speed is all well and good, but at the end of the day, it is Gravy. What wins Championships is Moving The Chains. And Moving The Chains is accomplished far more consistently by the guys who exhibit the Agility ~ and the Focus ~ to consistently pick up 5 and sometimes 10 Yards at a time.
Processing Speed: Diagnostic Velocity. Field Vision. That ethereal Capacity to Rapidly Read & React to the Rapidly Roiling & Boiling Tactical LandScape...and to foresee and envision Lanes developing before they actually do.
Blocking: Having an HalfBack who doesn't Block effectively is like having 10 Men on the Field of Battle. Most HalfBacks just coming out'f College are mediocre Blockers, but this is a crucial Aspect of the Game that they'll need to master.
Receiving: Whether he be a PowerBack or a SpeedBack, an HalfBack that can effectively present a genuine Threat in the Passing Game dramatically increases his Team's Options on any given Play. The more dynamic the Threat, the more valuable to'is Team on the Field of Battle, whether he's just slipping out'f the BackField or splitting out Wide.
Broken down into SubCategories, it'd go something like this:
* Core Power is most of it. Tyrannosaurus Rex would've made an Hell of an HalfBack.
* Torso Power doesn't hurt, though.
* Launch Velocity
* Long Speed
* That ethereal Capacity to foresee and envision Lanes developing before they actually do.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
* Catch Point Capacity
Agility ~ Adept. Moderate Acceleration to the Hole or OutSide, but impressive Fluidity and strong Ricochet out'f'is Breaks.
Processing Speed ~ Moderate. Decisive hitting the Hole and rarely dances, but sometimes seems confused and isn't above taking it to the corner prematurely on occasion, or of losing patience while Blocks are developing.
Blocking ~ Adept, with intriguing Potential. Neal exhibits impressive Paw Power and Combat Skills, but a suspect Motor.
Receiving ~ Outstanding. This is, far and away, the best Aspect of Neal's Game at this stage. He consistently exhibited excellent Route Running, impressive Agility and Instincts for the Open Zone, and remarkable Hands.
That's not to say that I perceive an other Aspect of'is Game as a Weakness, for I do not. It's just that none of the others stand out, in my view, and if his entire Game were fair to middlin', I could hardly justify selling'm to you.
But his exceptional Receiving Skills cast the rest of his Repertoire in a different light: While his Core Power is decidedly not exceptional, his impressively compact style of running strongly suggest that he could develop this into a Strength. And were he to do so, his Fearlessness in hitting the Hole could transform into a genuinely destructive Weapon.
I can't justify going further than that, but I believe that the combination of his intriguing Potential as a bashing, smashing Hard Yard Masher and his immense Potential as a Receiver make for an highly intriguing Prospect.
His rather moderate Field Vision and Agility curtail me from laying a Lottery Ticket label on'm: I don't see Dominance being likely in even the sunniest possible version of his future. But he's got some legitimate Skills to work with, and if he adequately applies himself, he has a fine chance of contributing for the next 8 Years or so.
Thanks, as always, to the extraordinary Work by the men of Draft BreakDown!!
Consensus Market Value