Offensive Guard ~ Vadal Alexander ~ Louisiana State Fighting Tigers ~ 6052/352
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 Guards:
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 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 Blocking: Power, Agility, Combat Skills, Processing Speed, and Motor.
Pass Blocking: Power, Agility, 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.
* 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. Reading Defensive Schemes quickly and effectively, and finding 2nd Level Targets.
* Motor ~ Intensity and Duration.
* Power ~ Drive Power to project Power in the Running Game.
* Agility ~ especially Acceleration DownField or to the Flank.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
* Power ~ Anchoring Strength to reject Power in the Passing Game.
* Agility ~ especially Fluidity to Mirror the Pass Rusher.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
Agility: Horrible. Deficient Launch Velocity. Horrible Acceleration. Horrific Fluidity.
Combat Skills: Marginal. Extraordinary Frame, but deficient Mechanics.
Intangibles: Awful. Deficient Processing Speed. Weak Motor.
Run Blocking: Well, in a Power Scheme he could conceivably dominate, and I'm confident that he will do precisely that on occasion. But even in that Scheme, his crippling combination of marginal Combat Skills, slow Processing Speed, and horrible Agility, I would think, is going to result in many a Whiff leading to Runs getting Blown Up.
And asking'm to pull or surge UpField is courting Disaster.
Pass Blocking: As long as the Pass Rusher comes straight at'm, he'll usually be fine. But if the Rusher has any Space at all to work with, Alexander's lack of Fluidity, Processing Speed, and Combat Skills could prove catastrophic.
But, my God, does he have some Work to do.
Despite his having a Frame that's optimal for Offensive Tackle, I utterly agree with the consensus that he absolutely needs to move back inside to Offensive Guard, where his horrible Agility won't be so egregiously exposed.
I consider Alexander a Long Shot, because his Conditioning, while improved over the Years, is still awful, his Agility is horrible, and his Combat Skills, his Processing Speed, and his Motor are all lousy.
I will happily note, though, that he has proven, over the Years, to be very reliable, has improved his Conditioning throughout his Career, and has excelled at multiple Positions, which in itself speaks well of his Intelligence and Attitude.
There is always more to the Story than meets the eye.
Having said that: Vadal Alexander, in my view, has had his Stock driven well beyond its Intrinsic Value by a combination of Wow Plays and the national Exposure afforded by a prominent Program.
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!!