Offensive Tackle ~ Roderick Johnson ~ Florida State Seminoles ~ 6066/297
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 Offensive Tackles:
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 lurching around like FrankenStein.
Frame: Vertical Leverage, Hands, Arm Length, and WingSpan.
Combat Skills: Horizontal Leverage, Paw Positioning, Paw Persistence, and FootWork.
Processing Speed: How quickly and effectively one Reads & Reacts to the Rapidly Roiling Tactical LandScape!!
Motor: Endurance and Drive: How much Work has been put into Conditioning, and how it manifests itself.
Run Blocking: Applying it all: Power, Agility, Frame, Combat Skills, Processing Speed, and Motor.
Pass Blocking: Power, Agility, Frame, 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.
* Vertical Leverage. Height is crucial, but it's actually better, I believe, to be an Inch shorter than an Inch Taller.
* Hands. The larger the better, generally, but compact is never a bad Attribute in The Trenches.
* Arm Length. Absolutely crucial. He who boasts the longer Arms initiates Combat.
* WingSpan. Arm Length + Torso Width. A more complete Measurement.
* Lateral Leverage. Angles. Getting Square or better with the Target.
* Paw Positioning ~ It's all about Angles & Leverage.
* Paw Persistence ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* FootWork ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* Reading & Reacting to Defensive Schemes & Stunts quickly and effectively.
* Field Vision: Finding Targets & approaching them effectively.
* Power ~ Drive Power to project Power in the Running Game.
* Agility ~ especially Acceleration DownField or to the Flank.
* Frame ~ especially Vertical Leverage.
* Combat Skills.
* Processing Speed.
* Power ~ Anchoring Strength to reject Power in the Passing Game.
* Agility ~ especially Fluidity to Mirror the Pass Rusher.
* Frame ~ especially WingSpan.
* Combat Skills.
* Processing Speed.
Power: Marginal. Johnson flashes Power now and then, but he plays too high far too often. In Pass Protection, I saw'im routinely get driven back into'is QuarterBack's lap, and in the Running Game he often simply stalled out.
Update: I'm gonna upgrade that all the way to Competitive and potentially Exceptional. Grading the Power of Prospects like Johnson gives me The Twitch, because their combination of exceptional Intrinsic Power and deficient Core Agility ~ FrankenStein Fluidity ~ produce a yawning Chasm between their Intrinsic Power...and their Functional Power.
Were Johnson to not lift another Weight in support of'is Core Power but instead reinvest that Time & Effort into Pilates, or Yoga, or something of that nature, he could transform his entire Game, not to mention his Health.
Agility: Mediocre. Impressive Launch Velocity out'f'is Stance and impressive Speed to the Flanks and DownField in the Running Game, but marginal Fluidity to Mirror in Pass Protection or to change direction in the Open Field.
Frame: Excellent. He's listed as an inch taller than the Right Height for optimal Vertical Leverage, which exacerbates his lack of Core Power and Core Fluidity, but he has a broad Frame and a phenomenal WingSpan.
* Update: Tremendous. He's even taller than previously listed, which is not good, but his WingSpan is sensational.
Combat Skills: Marginal. His Command of Lateral Leverage is mediocre. Sometimes he gets square or better with his Foe, but all too often he takes a bad angle. His Paw Positioning is horrible. Far too often he hits the Perimeter of'is Opponent, leaving him clutching and grabbing. His Paw Persistence is mediocre. And his FootWork is awful. Far too Frequently, he comes to a complete stop, allowing a contained Defender to defeat'm and make a Play.
Processing Speed: Mediocre. Johnson's Speed & Efficacy both in Reading & Reacting to Defensive Deception in Pass Protection and in Locating & Approaching Targets in the Running Game seems a bit sluggish.
Motor: Impressive, both his Intensity and his Conditioning.
Run Blocking: Mediocre, though with some Potential. I believe that his lack of Power renders'm a Liability at the Point of Attack. However, his Launch Velocity and Speed could translate into a disruptive Force, Behind Enemy Lines, if he develops Combat Skills worthy of that extraordinary WingSpan. He is of course best suited for Zone.
Pass Blocking: Marginal, though here too there is some Potential. His Fluidity to Mirror is awful, his Power is marginal, and his Combat Skills are lousy, but nobody with that kind of WingSpan is without Hope.
I gotta admit: My perception of Roderick Johnson's Draft Value diverges dramatically with the rest of the Draft Universe!!
There is certainly some Potential, here. Johnson seems to have a spectacular WingSpan, and his Speed is impressive.
But his Game is so raw, even after two and an half Campaigns. And he seems, to these eyes ~ and to mine, alone, from what I read!! ~ to lack both Power and Fluidity to such a degree that I believe he'll very likely be a major Liability in Pass Protection, long arms or not: Good Combat Skills can compensate for a lot...but Johnson ain't got any!!
There is indeed some Potential, here, but I strongly suspect that his Frame, his Speed, his WingSpan, and his Seminole Pedigree have driven his Stock far above and beyond what his Game and his Potential warrant.
* Update: Now this is gonna come across as strange, but here we go: Back when I wrote this up, in December, Johnson's Market Value ~ the general perception of what his Stock was worth ~ was borderline 1st Round ~ 1st/2nd Round ~ yet I gave'm a 4th/5th Round Grade...Now as I write up my Updates, in the wake of the Draft, it turns out that The Market dramatically changed...so dramatically, in fact, that Johnson hit #150, exactly where I said he ought to go!!
I love it when that happens!! Welcome Aboard, FootBall World!! Hah!!
And now for the weird part: I'm walking Johnson back up!!
I certainly believe the Odds are against'm: Johnson's hampered by FrankStein Fluidity.
If there were $10,000,000 lying at'is feet, and all he had to do to collect it was to reach down and pick it up without bending his knees, he couldn't do it, not even with those lengthy Wings'f'is. I'm telling you the Man's Core is stiff.
And if he cant change that ~ and he probably won't ~ then he's gonna have huge problems out there.
But my God, does he bring an intoxicating Fusion of Power ~ largely untapped, mind you ~ and Speed and that magnificent WingSpan of his to the Field of Battle...and if he ever wises up ~ and I pray to the God of his Choice that he stumbles across this Scouting Report and something hits'm ~ and commits himself to Yoga or Pilates or something along those lines and cures that FrankenStein Fluidity and unleashes that Power...we're talking multiple Pro Bowls.
And that's at a Premium Position, so, yes: For the sake of Perspective, I've noted both The Market's and my original Ratings from December, but this is one of those semi-rare cases where The Market and I have actually swapped places on a Prospect: Roderick Johnson, who I considered highly overrated by The Market as a1st/2nd Round Prospect back in December, has seen his Stock plummet all the way to where I rated it back then...while I have upgraded'm!!
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!!