Dragon ~ ZaDarius Smith ~ Kentucky WildCats 6045/275
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:
Dragons ~ This is my terminology for Players who may've played either Defensive End or what you Earthlings call "OutSide LineBacker" in College, and who in any case possess the Size to player either at the next level. They would generally be deployed as Ends in a 43 or as "OutSide LineBackers" in a 34, and have even been known to get deployed as Interior Rushers in the Nascar Package. The Prototype would generally be somewhere around 6050/265 or so.
Of course, where and how any given Coach chooses to deploy his Players is his Business. Players that I characterize as Dragons 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.
Dragons in a 43 are Defensive Linemen, but Dragons in a 34, for instance, are off the Line and may be asked to drop into Pass Coverage from time to time, so that capacity ~ observed or inferred is going to be part of my Evaluations.
When evaluating Dragons, 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, Navigating Traffic, Processing Speed, Motor, and Tackling.
Pass Coverage: Agility, Processing Speed, and Catch Point Capacity.
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.
* Paw Power ~ The Power & Speed of the initial Punch.
* Paw Velocity ~ How active the Hands are.
* Paw Positioning ~ It's all about Angles & Leverage.
* Frame ~ Above all: WingSpan.
* Processing Speed ~ Field Vision. Rapidly Reading & Reacting to the Offense.
* Motor ~ Intensity and Duration.
* Combat Skills
* Navigating Traffic
* Processing Speed
* Processing Speed
* Catch Point Capacity
* Combat Skills
Agility: Deficient. Sufficient Launch Velocity but awful Acceleration and awful Fluidity.
Combat Skills: Phenomenal. Extraordinary Mechanics and sensational Persistence.
Intangibles: Exceptional. Mediocre Field Vision but a phenomenal Motor.
Run Defense: Competitive. He occasionally disrupts in the BackField, mostly because of his extraordinary Combat Skills and his relentless Motor. In Pursuit, he is marginal at best, because his Field Vision is mediocre and his Fluidity and Acceleration are awful ~ only his phenomenal Motor saves'm from a Failing Grade. The Point of Attack is where he's exceptional, with his impressive Power, his extraordinary Combat Skills, and his magnificent Motor.
Pass Coverage: No Data, but I'm confident that he'd be awful. His bad Field Vision is exceeded only by'is horrific Fluidity.
Pass Rush: Mediocre. Smith has little Agility to speak of, but he's got a smidgeon of Power, a vast Wealth of Combat Skills, and a relentless Motor. He isn't going to be keeping Offensive Tackles up at nights...But he'll make his Presence known.
1st Round Motor, Attention to Detail, and Drive.
I love this kid, absolutely love this kid...just not at his Market Value.
He's pretty clearly a 43 Power End, and has no business playing MidFielder in a 34.
He is almost completely bereft of Talent of any kind and he won't dazzle anyone with his Athletic Prowess...
But he'll hold up his end of things remarkably consistently and well, I strongly suspect, and make an Inspirational Impact on the Play of the other 52 well in excess of his own Contributions, I am quite confident.
I believe that his admirable Play has produced Statistics that've propelled his Market Value farther than his Pedestrian Potential warrants, however, and it is only out'f Respect for his Inspirational Impact that I grade'm as high as I do.
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!!