Offensive Guard ~ Zach Banner ~ Southern California Trojans ~ 6084/354
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 Centers:
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: Impressive, but far from overwhelming, which was no Surprise to me: Banner's Height, Weight, and lack of Core Agility or Fluidity all play against his translating his Intrinsic Power into Functional Power in Combat.
Agility: Horrible. Marginal Launch Velocity out'f'is Stance, mediocre Acceleration to the Flanks or the 2nd Level in the Running Game, and horrific Fluidity to Mirror in Pass Protection or to redirect in the Open Field.
Frame: Mediocre. His WingSpan ~ the sum of Torso Width and Arm Length ~ appears to be phenomenal. However, at 6080 or so, he's looking at a colossal Leverage Liability. Standing that tall is an enormous hindrance both to bringing one's Power to bear against far more compact Opponents and to one's Agility, as Fluidity of Motion becomes far more challenging, the further away from one's Center one's Torso stretches.
Update: Marginal. His measured WingSpan is fine, but nowhere near as lengthy as it'd appeared to be, so that's not going to be any Help in compensating for that gigantic Leverage Liability that his high Center of Gravity imposes.
Combat Skills: Marginal. Patience stands out as a Strength of Banner's, so much so that it occurs to me that I should add it to my Portfolio of Aspects, next Year, while integrating it into Paw Persistence, this Year...However, it's his only Combat Skill Virtue that I can yet discern: His Command of Lateral Leverage is poor. His Paw Positioning is awful. I routinely watched him hit the Perimeter, not the Frame, of his Opponent, which of course leads to Clutching & Grabbing.
His Paw Persistence is competitive, though, but his FootWork is marginal.
Processing Speed: Marginal. His Speed & Efficacy both in Reading & Reacting to Defensive Stunts in Pass Protection and in Locating & Approaching Targets in the Running Game were generally mediocre and sometimes horrible.
Motor: Competitive. Adequate Effort and sufficient Duration, too, which, while not a Shining Review, nevertheless surprised the Hell out'f me after reading about his Weight Problems over the Years...But Banner, while you can see above that I'm not exactly sloppy about'm as a Prospect, is by all Accounts a natural Leader, an Hard Worker, and increasingly focused on doing what it takes to get where he wants to go. I read this Article about'm and came away impressed.
* Update: Mediocre. Adequate Effort but marginal Stamina.
Run Blocking: Mediocre but potentially outstanding. However, that Potential is in my view an extremely Long Shot. Banner has Tons of untapped Power, but untapped it's going to remain unless he revolutionizes his Conditioning, and even then his Height will always bleed off much of his Power and hinder his Agility. It is his enormous Frame's capacity to routinely cover a lot of Real Estate, and his combination of Power and a sprawling WingSpan that give'm most'f'is Potential. However, he has Tons of Work to do in developing his Combat Skills and Processing Speed.
Pass Blocking: Mediocre but potentially exceptional. Here, too, though, the Odds are long ones, as Banner is deficient and in ways dramatically so in terms of Agility, Combat Skills, and Processing Speed. His Fluidity to Mirror is nightmarishly awful. And yet with that Frame and that WingSpan, he has All Pro Potential if he can ever develop the rest.
Banner appears to've taken a fundamentally improved approach to his Conditioning, but he's going to have to go Elite with that if he's gonna make an Impact at the next level. I believe that there is enormous untapped Power in that Frame. It flashes, now and then, when he can get uncoiled and explode into his Foe. But that only happens in isolated instances, and I think that that's all we'll ever see, unless he gets very specific Training ~ Pilates and that sort of thing ~ and completely dedicates himself to both to the Training and to conditioning himself to an incredibly high level.
Failing that, I believe that his towering Height and the enormous Leverage Liability that it produces against far more compact Foes who can routinely coil up and explode into'm will cripple his functional Power.
Failing that, he will also continue to stagger around like FrankenStein's Uncle.
Failing that...He could very well fail all together to even make a Roster.
When I write a Scouting Report on a guy who's Combat Skills and Processing Speed are as raw and undeveloped as I perceive Banner's to be, I'm generally left with an abysmal opinion of his Intelligence and Drive, especially if he was highly recruited out'f High School, as Banner was: It strongly suggests that he's been relying on his Frame to win, and hasn't invested the Time and Training that it takes to succeed. And the massive Weight that he put on in a couple Years ago, ballooning up to 380 or so at one point, strongly supports this perception, as well...However, there is in my opinion substantial reason for Hope: He impressed me as far, far more serious and focused in that MMQB Article.
I still consider it a very Long Shot for Banner to become an All Pro level Starter in the NFL. I believe that this most likely Path is going to be to continue along the Path he's begun, which has been to fulfill very little of the Potential of his massive Frame, a Frame who's Leverage Liability of course provides its own Problems.
Even so, there is that small spark of Hope that Zach Banner has, though at a very late Hour, awoken to how very much it takes to fulfill one's Potential, and has the Drive ~ as all I read says that indeed he does ~ to do what it takes.
And if he does manage to unleash his Potential, his Frame, his Intrinsic Power, and his WingSpan speak to genuine All Pro Potential as a Sprawling Tower of a Pass Protector and a Mauling Brawler of a Run Blocker!!
* Update: I'm switching my Designation of Banner to Offensive Guard. His Frame is definitely sufficient for Offensive Tackle, but his Fluidity is so horrifically awful that there's simply no way in Hell that he can play there.
He is of course way too freaking tall to play Offensive Guard, either, but he's so damned enormous that he's got a fighting Chance. His Potential, I believe, is that of a tremendous Run Blocker on a Power Scheme Team who ~ if he vastly improves his Conditioning ~ could become a competitive Pass Blocker simply by getting in the way.
Whether or not he does so is anyone's Guess.
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!!