Lion End ~ James Looney ~ California Golden Bears ~ 6025/288
Old Roles are getting dramatically transformed, and virtually every Front 7 ~ or Front 6!! ~ Defensive Job Description is transitioning into an Hybrid Role where the Defender is asked to excel in multiple Roles and in multiple Fronts.
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:
Lions ~ This is my term for Defensive Linemen with the Size of a smaller and faster Defensive Tackle and the WingSpan of a Defensive End. Like the Grizzlies, they can line up at End in a 34 or at Tackle in a 43, or just about anywhere in either Formation, and conceivably play either 1 Gap or 2 Gap. The Prototype would be about 6050/300 or less.
Of course, where and how any given Coach chooses to deploy his Players is his Business. Players that I characterize as Lions 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.
When evaluating Lions, 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 Torso Power 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, which, I believe, 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: Vertical Leverage, Paw Positioning, Paw Persistence, and FootWork. Above all: Pass Rush Repertoire.
Processing Speed: How quickly and effectively one Reads & Reacts to the Rapidly Roiling Tactical LandScape!!
Motor: Intensity and Stamina: How much Work has been put into Conditioning, and how it manifests itself.
Run Defense: All the Above, applied.
Pass Rush: Ditto.
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, Rushing the Passer.
* 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.
* Pass Rush Repertoire: Variety.
* Reading & Reacting to Offensive Blocking Schemes with Speed & Precision.
* Field Vision: Finding Targets & approaching them effectively.
Power: 33. Mediocre Anchoring Strength and marginal Drive Power.
Agility: 100. Outstanding Launch Velocity, extraordinary Fluidity, and phenomenal Closing Speed.
Frame: 40. He's the Right Height for the hybrid role, but his Wings are on the short side.
Combat Skills: 66. Excellent Paw Persistence, and well developed in all aspects.
Processing Speed: 66. Consistently keeps his eyes up and consistently reads and reacts quickly and effectively.
Motor: 90. Tremendous Intensity and consistently outstanding Stamina.
Run Defense: 36. His Power and WingSpan are hurting him, especially at the Point of Attack, where he is a Liability. He's impressive in Pursuit, though, thanks to extraordinary Agility, impressive Field Vision, and Hustle.
Pass Rush: 40, but with exceptional Potential. Here, too, his Power and WingSpan are holding'm back, but he is extremely explosive, extremely slippery, and already possesses impressive Combat Skills. I don't think that he can do much about his Power or WingSpan, but if he can continue to improve his Combat Skills, he might make an enormous impact.
Ceiling? Warrior. 2nd Round. If Looney continues to develop, I believe that the Speed and Agility are there to develop into an outstanding Pass Rusher. He is a Liability in Run Defense at The Point of Attack, however, and his ceiling in that direction might not be higher than mediocre, but in Pursuit his Motor and Agility mean exceptional Potential.
Floor? Reserve. 6th/7th Round. As high as his potential impact is, he'll likely never become more than a Sub Package Pass Rusher if he doesn't find a little more beef to anchor with in Run Defense.
Risk/Reward Ratio? Very good, I think, and also with an awfully good chance of excelling as a Pass Rusher, thus offering a Soft Floor, if you will, as a Collaborator worth a 4th/5th Rounder...and with the possibility of much more.
Looney fell short of making a ton of Plays, last year, but I got the sense of somebody who's just a developmental step or two away from transforming into an Impact Player...and who's moving quickly in that direction.
There's plenty of risk of failure, here...But I really like his chances of success. All the Intangible Indicators ~ Combat Skills, Processing Speed, and Motor ~ strongly indicate that he's got plenty of both the Drive and the Intelligence to continue to develop his Game, become All That He Can Be, and make a strong impact at the next level. He's passionate, he's Intelligent, he's intellectually fast, and his Reputation is that of an intensely high energy hard worker.
As I judge things, he's a very good bet.
Thank you so very much, Draft BreakDown, without whom my Work would be virtually impossible.
Please also note, Fellow FootBall Fiends: These CyberScouting Reports are not intended as predictions of success or failure, but as assessments ~ ludicrously amateurish assessments ~ of potential success. FootBall is a rough and often unfair business, and many a worthy Prospect has fallen far short of his potential, sometimes not because of his own failings, but because of those of coaching, scheme, timing...or because huge investments were made on other Prospects.
In other words: If any of my Super Dooper Deeper Sleepers ever fail to fulfill their vast potential, I’m confident that it goes without saying that it wasn’t their fault…or mine!!...Yes, I think that I'm being funny.
In other words: Caveat Emptor, Fellow FootBall Fiends!!
Enter at your own risk!!