Flex End ~ Jake Butt ~ Michigan Wolverines
Power Ends will be how I refer to the Players with a Frame built for the classic "In Line" Tight End ~ an Hybrid Player who serves as a combination Blocker and Receiver. There'll be Exceptions: I'd previously categorized Jimmy Graham as a Power End, but while his Frame is certainly that of one, his 40 Time ~ 4.53 at 260 Pounds!!! ~ trumps that.
The Prototype for a Power End would be about 6050/260 or so.
The "Tight Ends" whose Frames are better suited to be deployed in running Routes from all over the Formation, and who aren't especially renowned for their Blocking ~ though many are adept Chippers ~ I refer to as Flex Ends.
The Prototype would be about 6030/245 or so.
Those of either type who present legitimate Dual Threats ~ who can make a genuine Impact either as a Blocker or as a Receiver ~ are impossible to predict from Snap to Snap, and this renders them extraordinarily dangerous.
Conceivably even more dangerous and dynamic than either of these two types is one of my pet Positions: The WingBacks. I employ this ancient FootBall Term, one still in active use in many High Schools and Colleges, to refer to a Role so ethereal as to be almost imaginary: an Hybrid FullBack & Flex End ~ a Super Hybrid, if you will.
The Prototype would be about 6000/240 or so.
The WingBack, optimally, would be a guy capable of Lead Blocking in the Run Game, Pass Blocking in the Passing Game, or splitting out and running Pass Patterns from SlotBack, Slot End, Split End, or Flanker. He could line up at any of those spots, or on either Wing, on the Line, or in the BackField. He could even go In Motion or run the Ball!!
Such a versatile, dynamic Player could have an explosive Impact on the Competitive LandScape.
The Game has reached a point in its Tactical History that is perfect for such a Player.
It awaits only for the NFL to realize the Opportunity.
Because Flex Ends operate as an Hybrid's Hybrid ~ part Tight End and part WideOut, with Blocking ~ the occasional Chip ~ being but a tertiary part of their Game ~ I break down their Attributes pretty much like I would those of a WideOut:
Separation: Getting Open. This encompasses Combat Skills & Fluidity to beat Press, Acceleration or Short Speed, Fluidity and Ricochet in navigating Traffic, Route Running Precision, Deception of Defenders, and Processing Speed and Field Vision for Timing Seams and Open Zones. The way I see it, Separation dwarfs All other Aspects of a WideOut's Job Description in Importance. I consider Separation more important than the other WideOut Aspects combined.
Catch Point Capacity: In Transition or Contested: Hands, WingSpan, Vertical Agility, Combat Skills, and Timing. Timing is of course derivative of Processing Speed and Field Vision, and affects both Transitional Catches and Contested Catches, the latter both in terms of timing one's Jumps and in employing Combat Skills to work free at the right Moment.
Chunk Yardage: An highly overrated Aspect of the Game, I believe, so much so that in fact I didn't even include it in 2016. It is not a negligible Aspect of the Game, so I'm bringing it back, but getting open, catching the Ball, and Moving the Chains are far more crucial to a Team's Success, I believe, than making Splash Plays and getting on ESPN HighLights Reels. Power, Fluidity, Ricochet, Speed, Combat Skills, and Processing Speed/Field Vision all play into Chunk Yardage.
Blocking: It was a Mistake to leave this Aspect ~ my very favorite Aspect of FootBall ~ out'f 2016's Flex End Reports, and I'm very happy to correct that Mistake, evermore. Blocking of course comes down to Power, Agility, Frame, Combat Skills, Processing Speed, and Motor, and further breaks down into In Line Blocking and Open Field Blocking.
Broken down into SubCategories, it'd go something like this:
* Combat Skills
* Field Vision
Catch Point Capacity
Catch Point Capacity
* Combat Skills
* Vertical Agility
* Combat Skills
* Field Vision
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
Separation: Tremendous. Allow me to preface all that follows by noting that, as you see, I'm evaluating Butt as a Flex End, not a traditional Tight End. This is an important Distinction because of course nobody else in this Galaxy who writes anything about The Draft even recognizes the Existence of such a thing as a Flex End!!
Consequently, there will be a sometimes dramatic DisConnect between my Evaluation and that of Earthlings who view such Prospects through an entirely different Prism. For instance: Separation. Lined up In Line, at the traditional Y Position, Jake Butt, who goes about 15 to 20 Pounds lighter than a traditional Tight End, exhibits exceptional Combat Skills but nevertheless struggles to break Press Coverage from Dragons, who tend to have those 15 to 20 Pounds on'm.
But deployed as a Flex End, which is to say: moved all around the Formation, but generally flexed out to Slot End, SlotBack, Flanker, or Split End, often deployed as a WingBack, and only occasionally playing with his hand in the dirt, Butt wouldn't match up with Dragons very often. Flex Ends are about 2/3 to 3/4 WideOuts and 1/4 to 1/3 LineMen, after all.
Within that context, Butt will not excel against Press Coverage, but should be effective.
And the rest of his Separation Game is awesome.
First off, Butt exhibits extraordinary Agility: His Acceleration DownField is tremendous, his Fluidity is terrific, and his Ricochet out'f'is Breaks is outstanding. He is smooth, he is explosive, and he is fast.
What's more impressive to me, though, is his phenomenal Processing Speed and Field Vision. Butt consistently exhibits extraordinary Speed & Efficacy, Reading & Reacting to Coverage, Navigating Traffic, and finding the Open Zone.
But brings Top Shelf Agility and Top Shelf Field Vision to the Field of Battle, Gentlemen.
Catch Point Capacity: Tremendous. Butt could stand a bit more Beefing Up, as his Power is mediocre, and that'll cost'm on a few Contested Catches, but his Combat Skills are exceptional, his Timing, both in Transition and on Contested Catches, is outstanding, which goes with his extraordinary Field Vision, his WingSpan is of course an enormous Advantage against Defensive Backs, and his extraordinarily reliable Hands are his best Asset of all.
Chunk Yardage: Excellent. Butt's mediocre Power hampers him from simply Beasting'is way to Glory, but he's certainly not afraid to take on Defenders, and his sweet, smooth, Fluidity, his explosive Ricochet, and his electric Acceleration and dynamic Long Speed, combined with his deadly-quick Field Vision, render'm a very dangerous Runner.
Blocking: Impressive. Again, that mediocre Power hinders him from simply plowing his way through Defenders, and I don't foresee'm becoming better than competitive at The Point of Attack...But Behind Enemy Lines, Butt possesses the Processing Speed, the Combat Skills, and the Agility to wreak all sorts of disruptive Havoc!!
I have to say: I believe that all the BallyHoo that I've read about Jake Butt seems entirely warranted!!
Indeed, I wonder if Scouts and Draft Reporters may've gotten a tad sick'f the lad!! Seems to me that the early Fervor has abated, as indeed it usually does...But it seems pretty clear to me, at least, that Jake Butt brings a phenomenal combination of Agility, Routing Running Savvy, Catch Point Capacity, and Chunk Yardage Potential.
And his Blocking, which I've read mostly lukewarm Reports of, is actually impressive, if seen through the Prism of what he actually is ~ a Flex End ~ and not what most Earthlings continue to insist upon viewing him as ~ a Tight End!!
What Slows My Roll, though, is his Health: The Lad is banged up again. A torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament in February 2014 was followed by Microscopic Knee Surgery on the same, in January 2015, and of course just a few Days ago, he suffered yet another Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury. It's unclear if it was the same one as previously ~ this one was the Right Knee ~ but at the end of the Day, it hardly matters: I think that I've been a bit too cavalier in assessing the Prospects of Prospects with intensive Injury History ~ Dominique Easley easily comes to mind ~ and'm therefore attenuating.
Leaving Injury Risk aside, I'd rank Jake Butt as a SuperBeast ~ Top 10. But his persistent Knee Issues gives me Cause for Pause. The Risk/Reward Bet on Butt, it seems to me, is very Beta: High Ceiling/Low Floor, Earthlings.
* Update: It was the same ACL that he tore a 2nd Time. Oy.
The Risk Factor seems pretty high, here. Butt's got extraordinary Potential, but he's at Double Dirty Dog on that ACL, which brings significant Potential for a short, disappointing Career with it. Hopefully, his prospective Team ~ the Broncos drafted'm in the 5th Round ~ will be smart and RedShirt'm this Year while giving'm World Class Strength Training.
He could definitely be a Star, but I'm gonna Walk Back my Ratings a Click to reflect the heightened Risk Factor.
I'll update The Market Value, as well. Previously, that was 2nd/3rd Round, myself a Round higher.
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!!