PowerBack ~ Zach Zenner ~ South Dakota State JackRabbits ~ 5115/224
I've come to believe that any HalfBack that doesn't bring a Passing Game element to the BattleField is...incomplete.
Hence, the term "FlexBack" ~ although quite cool, I believe!! ~ short-circuits the Evaluation Process.
As to how I break them down, I expect that the terms are pretty self-explanatory:
PowerBacks ~ HalfBacks who do their best Work between the Tackles..
SpeedBacks ~ HalfBacks who do their best Work outside the Tackles.
The PowerBack prototype would be about 5115/220 or so.
The SpeedBack prototype would be about 5010/200 or so.
Those are gross oversimplifications, of course, and many HalfBacks will manifest Attributes of both styles. Indeed, Power and Speed ~ better yet: Agility ~ are crucial to the Success of either kind of HalfBack. But I believe that it advances the discussion and better serves my Fellow FootBall Fanatics if I make an effort to distinguish between types.
This is how I break things down, when evaluating all HalfBacks:
Power: Above all: Core Power. Upper body Power is important, but lower body Power, from the Knees to the Ribs, is absolutely crucial. An HalfBack's Capacity to break Tackles is more about Core Power than anything else.
Agility: Launch Velocity, Fluidity, Acceleration, and Ricochet. Long Speed is all well and good, but at the end of the day, it is Gravy. What wins Championships is Moving The Chains. And Moving The Chains is accomplished far more consistently by the guys who exhibit the Agility ~ and the Focus ~ to consistently pick up 5 and sometimes 10 Yards at a time.
Processing Speed: Diagnostic Velocity. Field Vision. That ethereal Capacity to Rapidly Read & React to the Rapidly Roiling & Boiling Tactical LandScape...and to foresee and envision Lanes developing before they actually do.
Blocking: Having an HalfBack who doesn't Block effectively is like having 10 Men on the Field of Battle. Most HalfBacks just coming out'f College are mediocre Blockers, but this is a crucial Aspect of the Game that they'll need to master.
Receiving: Whether he be a PowerBack or a SpeedBack, an HalfBack that can effectively present a genuine Threat in the Passing Game dramatically increases his Team's Options on any given Play. The more dynamic the Threat, the more valuable to'is Team on the Field of Battle, whether he's just slipping out'f the BackField or splitting out Wide.
Broken down into SubCategories, it'd go something like this:
* Core Power is most of it. Tyrannosaurus Rex would've made an Hell of an HalfBack.
* Torso Power doesn't hurt, though.
* Launch Velocity
* Long Speed
* That ethereal Capacity to foresee and envision Lanes developing before they actually do.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
* Catch Point Capacity
Agility: Moderate. Mediocre Short Speed, lousy Long Speed, and mediocre Ricochet...but impressive Fluidity.
Field Vision: Excellent. Not free of Mistakes, by any means, but Zenner did an Hell of a lot more than flash extraordinary Processing Speed on the Field of Battle. Given Time & Training, he could be extraordinary, indeed.
Blocking: Impressive. Impressive Combat Skills and exceptional Appetite for Combat.
Receiving: Tremendous. Remarkable Route Running, exceptional Timing & Tracking, great Hands, awesome WingSpan!!
For the Record: It was Zenner in the Snow, not I.
And, yes: I saw'm against Nebraska and Missouri, as far'as you know.
Sorry. I channel Chevy Chase rather routinely.
Yeah, I was just about to Click Off when I saw the 3.8 flashed on'is Resume...
But then I realized: It isn't his Yards Per Carry. It's his Grade Point Average.
Zenner can't seem to do an Hell of a lot more than run in a straight line with a twitch, here and there...But I'm beginning to perceive the Value in that. Fluidity is one of my most beloved Aspects, but a challenging one to evaluate.
Zenner certainly doesn't impressive me as a Contortionist...But one does not necessarily need to evoke notions of smooth, serpentine, and slippery Fluidity to slip by Defenders. And Zenner does manifest that sort of subtle Fluidity that enables him to consistently do precisely that. Put that together with that outstanding Power, and we're making money.
Mind you: Zenner's is a specialized sort of Talent: You definitely don't want to ask this kid to stretch it Outside.
This is a PowerBack, here, make no Mistake: Between the Hashes is where you want'm to work.
What startled me about this kid, though, was how refined he is in the Passing Game and what a sharp Weapon he has the Potential to be in this regard: He brings Impressive Blocking and tremendous Receiving Skills to the BattleField.
Zenner has definite Limitations, mind you: You don't want to try to stretch the Front 6 or 7 with'm.
But as a PowerBack, and especially on Passing Downs and on Ambivalent Downs, he brings a formidable combination of Power Running with a subtle twist of Fluidity, impressive Blocking, and tremendous Receiving Chops.
This guy is a Weapon.
What a perfect Choice with which to conclude Phase 2 of my Offensive Scouting Report!! The Man with the Double Z's!!!
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!!