Wolf Tackle ~ Sheldon Day ~ Notre Dame Fighting Irish ~ 6006/294
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:
Wolves ~ Wolves are the smaller, faster Defensive Tackles. Whereas Grizzlies will generally be counted on to command Double Teams and stop the Inside Run, Wolves will usually be asked to penetrate the Pocket and disrupt, especially against the Pass. The Prototype would be somewhere around 6015/300 or less, and they're getting smaller.
Of course, where and how any given Coach chooses to deploy his Players is his Business. Players that I characterize as Wolves 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 Wolves, 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 Skill
Agility: Magnificent. Extraordinary Launch Velocity, outstanding Acceleration, and phenomenal, serpentine Fluidity!!
Combat Skills: Absolutely awesome. His WingSpan is marginal and a Liability, but he brings outstanding Mechanics, and a phenomenal Pass Rushing Repertoire to the Field of Battle, and his active Hands are relentless.
Intangibles: Phenomenal. Tremendous Field Vision and a sensational Motor.
Run Defense: Hobbled by deficient Core Power and a marginal WingSpan, Day will very likely always be a Liability at The Point of Attack, but his capacity to Rapidly Read & React to the Tactical LandScape, combined with his sensational combination of Fluidity and Speed render'm an extraordinary Weapon in Pursuit or attacking the BackField.
Pass Rush: And while Day won't likely be Bull Rushing too many Guards into the QuarterBack, his incredible combination of Fluidity, Speed, and Combat Skills render'm, given even a little room to work with, terrifying.
But I like Day more than Collins. I believe that Collins is a tremendous Prospect ~ I gave'm a Beast Grade, in fact ~ but there is clearly a decent amount of Risk, there, as with most Prospects. But with Sheldon Day...I just don't see that.
Sheldon Day is the kind of Prospect that I cannot help but admire: His Resume is one of continuous and significant Improvement, Year after Year after Year. His Field Vision is tremendous. His Motor? Relentless.
You watch enough Tape and study enough Prospects, you come to feel that you can simply tell, and early on, at that, when you're watching a guy with extraordinary Talent, extraordinary Intelligence, and absolutely relentless Drive.
I am far more confident that Sheldon Day has both the Intelligence and above all the Drive to squeeze every ounce of Potential out'f himself than almost every other Prospect in this Draft...and he is a Born Leader.
If I were measuring Risk ~ Beta ~ on Prospects, my perception of his would extremely low...and that imparts enormous Value in evaluating Prospects, when even the best of us routinely swing and miss at FastBalls.
I'm reading a lot about Day's Limitations ~ about how he's not Beefy enough to play Tackle and not lengthy enough to play End. And I don't give a Rat's Ass. I read the same nonsense 2 Years ago about Aaron Donald, a SuperBinky of mine from the 2014 Draft who I MockDrafted that Year, even Trading Up to do so. I gave Donald a Top 5 Grade.
I believe that Day, like Donald before'm, is very likely to transform into an outstanding Pass Rusher and a tremendous Run Defender. I don't rate Day as highly as Donald, mind you...But I rate'm far higher than the NFL did, evidently!!
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!!