Texas A&M ~ 6033/267
Such is the case with Defensive Ends. NFL Defenses have become more'r less evenly divided between "43" Teams and "34" Teams. Far more importantly, though, the line between "43" and "34" is rapidly becoming a very fuzzy one.
Teams are increasingly going with Hybrid Theory Concepts, and the result is that many "Positions" are becoming Hybrids.
Defensive Ends are at the very crux of this changing LandScape. Traditional "34" Ends are just as likely to be employed as 3 Tech Tackles, traditional "43" Ends are just as likely to be deployed as "34" Flank Defenders ~ "OutSide LineBacker", to you Earthlings ~ and both are increasingly being asked to morph between Roles.
As such, I consider the old notion of pretending that these guys all go into one "Defensive End" Category to be silly.
And I also find the idea of sub-categorizing them as "34" Ends and "43" Ends, while a step in the right direction, to be ridiculously inadequate: It ignores the fact that half these guys won't even be deployed that way, and it ignores the fact that a rapidly increasing number of Defenses are going to ask them to morph between Roles.
Lion is going to be my term for the 280 Pound Plus Defensive Ends who could project to Tackle.
Dragon is going to be my term for the 270 Pounders or less.
Within the 270's or in any unusual cases, it'll be a Judgement Call.
Lions will get drafted either to play "34" End, "43" Tackle...or both.
Dragons will get drafted either to play "34" Flanker, "43" End...or both!!
I should also add that some Prospects generally considered to be Defensive Tackles will fall under my definition of a Lion. Indeed, the way the Strategic & Tactical LandScape is evolving these days, it is of course not uncommon for an erstwhile Tackle to get kicked out to Defensive End. But of course what each Coach does with his Personnel is his Business.
My Purpose here is to try to categorize Prospects by Type, and I believe that there is substantial difference between Prospects who could play both End and Tackle and Prospects whose Skills Sets suggest that they do.
These latter are genuine Hybrids ~ Lions ~ and it is my Hope that those of you who honor my Site with your Visits will find my efforts to distinguish the one type from the other ~ wrought with Peril though it be!! ~ to be useful to your Purposes.
When evaluating Lions, these are the Attributes to which I pay most particular attention:
Power. Above all: Core Power. Upper body Strength 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 Lineman to project Power in the Running Game and to reject Power in the Passing Game. And those Players who invest the time and effort to develop superior Core Power are far likelier to enjoy sustained good Health and stay on the Field.
Agility. Lateral 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. Mechanics. Launch Velocity, Paw Power, and Technique.
Intangibles. Diagnostic Capacity, Processing Speed, and Motor. How effectively he masters Spatial Diagnostics & Angles, how rapidly he recognizes and implements Blocking Schemes based on changing Defensive Tactics, and of course: Drive. How badly he wants it. These are of course difficult things to assess, but it's crucial to at least try to.
Agility. Exceptional. Impressive Launch Velocity. Tremendous Fluidity. Superior Acceleration, Range, and Closing Speed.
Combat Skills. Mediocre but with extraordinary Potential. Raw and inconsistent Mechanics and Tackling Technique, but explosive Paw Power and exquisitely violent Paws, displaying tremendous Frequency.
Intangibles. Awful. There is genuine Potential, here, mind you, but his Field Vision and Processing Speed are horrible, and while he flashes a ferocious Motor, he is horrifically inconsistent.
I cannot possibly thank those guys enough for making this spectacular waste of your Time ~ my Site ~ possible.
Ethan WestBrooks is pretty clear cut for me ~ or as clear cut as such an incredibly indefinable Prospect can be.
He's a Lottery Ticket.
Which is to say: He is clearly unclear ~ opaque ~ so it's clear to me that my duty here is to affix an High Beta Tag to'm ~ that is "High Risk/High Reward" to you Earthlings ~ and accept that if I claimed to be certain about'm, I'd by lying.
Ethan WestBrook brings extraordinary Agility to the BattleField, and enough Core Power to back it up.
And the sweet Violence of his Paw Power, as well as the streaky Ferocity of his Motor, indicate Great Possibilities.
But his inconsistent Motor, horrible Field Vision, and horrifyingly undeveloped Mechanics terrify me.
He's in fact the antithesis of Taylor Hart, who is short on Talent but long on Work Ethic, Intelligence, and Attention to Detail.
But the questions that come to mind of course are how receptive he'll be to a far more structured environment than he's been in, and how successful he'll be in applying the intensive Coaching that he so clearly needs.
The answers to those questions might very well be the difference between a Top 10 Talent who terrorizes the League for a Decade...and a complete UFA Grade Wash Out who's stocking shelves or peddling used Cars in 3 Years.
Because the answer is so uncertain ~ so clearly unclear ~ because I will not be sitting down with'm, asking'm direct questions, and gauging his response, the Grade I place on this Prospect's Prospects is Lottery Ticket.
Usually, that translates to "4th/5th Round" with me...but considering his dynamic Potential, I'll be bumping that a bit.
Thanks, as always, to the extraordinary Work by the men of Draft BreakDown!!
Consensus Market Value