Flanker ~ Rashard Higgins ~ Colorado State Rams ~ 6012/196
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.
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 Split Ends, Flankers, and SlotBacks:
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.
Broken down into SubCategories, it'd go something like this:
* Combat Skills
* Field Vision
Catch Point Capacity
* Combat Skills
* Vertical Agility
Catch Point Capacity: Impressive. While 2015 was an all around tough Year for Higgins due to Health Issues, his Performance at The Catch Point ~ hitherto his Achilles Heel ~ improved dramatically. His Tracking & Timing is excellent, his Vertical Agility is adept, his Combat Skills are themselves adequate despite marginal Core Power, thanks to that exceptional WingSpan. The dramatic Improvement I attribute to greatly improved Hands.
He is, however, a tremendous Route Runner with outstanding Field Vision and Processing Speed in a Tactical LandScape, and he has developed his formerly awful Catch Point Capacity into a Strength.
There is definite Risk, here, for if he doesn't either Beef Up or find some other way to beat Press Coverage more consistently, he could fail spectacularly, because he sure's Hell isn't dusting anyone with Speed.
But the sort of technical Refinement that is manifest in the crafty, cunning way he routinely runs Routes is indicative of both Intelligence and the Drive to invest the Time & Training it takes to develop that Intelligence into a Weapon.
"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."
Rashard Higgins is a mite light on the old Talent part of that Formula, mind you, but he's not bereft of it.
He lacks Core Power, but he's got a terrific WingSpan.
And he isn't explosive, but he is definitely smooth.
And I also love the dramatic Improvement at The Catch Point this Year, especially considering that he played the Year or at least a part of it on a shaky Ankle. That right there corroborates my impression that this is a guy with a long and intensive Track Record of working and investing the Time & Training to develop and refine every aspect of his Game.
His Issues with Release make him a Risk, mind you, but one worth a reasonable Investment, I think.
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!!