Lion End ~ Robert Nkemdiche ~ Ole Mississippi Rebels ~ 6033/294
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:
Lions ~ This is my term for Defensive Linemen with the Size of a smaller and faster Defensive Tackle and the WingSpan of a Defensive End. Like the Grizzlies, they can line up at End in a 34 or at Tackle in a 43, or just about anywhere in either Formation, and conceivably play either 1 Gap or 2 Gap. The Prototype would be about 6050/300 or less.
Of course, where and how any given Coach chooses to deploy his Players is his Business. Players that I characterize as Lions 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 Lions, 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.
* Frame ~ Arms, Hands, and above all: WingSpan.
* Field Vision ~ Reacting to the Tactical LandScape: It's all about Angles & Leverage.
* Paw Positioning ~ It's all about Angles & Leverage.
* Paw Persistence ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* FootWork ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* Processing Speed ~ Field Vision. Rapidly Reading & Reacting to the Offense.
* Motor ~ Intensity and Duration.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
* Combat Skills
Agility: Extraordinary. Outstanding Launch Velocity, remarkable Fluidity, and phenomenal Acceleration.
Combat Skills: Horrible. And exceptional WingSpan and enormous Paws, but his Mechanics are horrific.
Intangibles: Awful. A marginal Motor and horrible Field Vision.
Run Defense: Pretty shaky, as he can be attacked head on with Success because of his marginal Core Power and horrible Combat Skills, and despite awsome Acceleration, he plays slow because of his deplorable Processing Speed.
Pass Rush: Outstanding Launch Velocity, tremendous Fluidity, and an exceptional WingSpan say that he's certainly got Potential as a Pass Rusher, but he'll never unleash it if he doesn't develop a Pass Rushing Repertoire.
He was, nevertheless, generally predicted to go late in the 1st Round, and that's exactly what happened.
Count me among those who consider his Market Value overrated, but not for the usual reasons.
Character certainly is a part of my Algorithm when determining the Intrinsic Value of a Prospect''s Services, but I'm far more interested in what is often euphemistically referred to as "FootBall" Character ~ my perception of a Prospect's Worth Ethic, his Passion for the Game, and his Focus on Team. Even so, "Social" Character plays into that, and Nkemediche's repeatedly dubious behavior outside the GridIron strikes me as more than just being a kid.
As such, yeah: That affects his Intrinsic Value in my Books.
But what affects it far more is my perception that he has done very little to develop his Craft since he arrived in Mississippi. His Combat Skills are infantile, his Pass Rushing Repertoire is extinct, and based on his routinely sluggish speed in reading and reacting to the Tactical LandScape around'm, I doubt he even knows where the Film Room is.
Robert Nkemdiche has obviously busted his Ass in the Weight Room, as he is ripped. So I'm not about to knock his Work Ethic. But it's one thing to look good for the Ladies, and quite another to invest the Time & Training over the Years that it takes to master all the little things that pave the Path to Greatness...and there, Nkemdiche falls short.
He is a remarkable talented, agile Athlete, but his Game is so incredibly raw right now that he'd likely get pulverized on the Field. Far more to the point, though: he inspires me with very little belief that that's going to change.
"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."
Well, it seems to me that he has the Talent, but I have serious Doubts, having watched the Tape and familiarized myself with his Record, about his Intelligence ~ particularly his Field Vision and Processing Speed ~ and his Drive.
To unleash his Talent, he's going to need to invest an Ocean of Time & Training, both to develop his horrible Combat Skills and to develop his hideous Field Vision...and I have Grave Doubts about whether he possesses either the Drive or the Processing Speed either to make that Commitment and see it through, or to reap the benefits of it.
I am the last guy to write a guy off based on what I see through The Looking Glass of Tape and Conjecture ~ especially a kid. People evolve at different rates and in different ways, and I don't presume to know Nkemdiche's Soul.
"The Time to make up your mind about people...is never."
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!!