Lion End ~ Ufomba Kamalu ~ Miami Hurricanes
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: Adept, and with tremendous Potential. Mediocre Launch Velocity, impressive Fluidity, and effective Acceleration, but Kamalu is pretty raw, having only taken up American FootBall in High School, so there's still a substantial Gap, I think, between his Raw Agility and his Functional Agility. And he rocked the Fluidity Scores at The Combine.
Combat Skills: Impressive with tremendous Potential. Raw Mechanics. Excellent Persistence. Tremendous WingSpan.
Intangibles: Intriguing. Marginal Field Vision. Outstanding Motor. Mediocre Conditioning.
Run Defense: He's got the Power, the Fluidity, and the WingSpan to become effective at the Point of Attack and tremendous In Pursuit, but is of course a long ways away from that and needs all sorts of Time & Training.
Pass Rush: Tremendous Potential as a Pass Rusher, with good and improving Power, potentially outstanding Fluidity, if his Instincts develop, and a tremendous WingSpan. Naturally Strong and Serpentine.
If Ufomba Kamalu proves to possess the Intelligence and Drive needed to invest in the extensive Time & Training it'll take to develop his impressive Power, his raw but potentially outstanding Fluidity and Closing Speed, his currently awful Processing Speed, and the potentially terrific Combat Skills that his tremendous WingSpan that his Power and prospectively remarkable Agility translate to, he could be an Impact Run Defender and a Pass Rushing Force.
Whether or not he gets there is up to Pure Speculation: His Drive is demonstrably exceptional, as he's traveled here from Nigeria in the first place, and persistently powered through whatever he needed to do to get to this point...But learning anything ~ much less mastering it to the point of Quick Twitch Instincts ~ as a second Lanquage is a Challenge.
Hail Mary Play. Huge Upside. High Potential of Failure. Lots of Heart. Definitely worth laying a Bet on.
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!!