SlotBack ~ Richie James ~ Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders ~ 5100/182
Split Ends are usually the bigger, taller WideOuts who line up in the X Position, on the Line of Scrimmage.
SlotBacks are usually the quicker, smaller WideOuts who line up at the Y Position, off the Line.
FlankerBacks are usually the faster WideOuts who line up at the Z Position, off the Line.
The Split End prototype would be about 6030/225 or so. Big. Chain Movers and Red Zone Targets.
The Flanker prototype would be about 6000/200 or so. Fast. Big Play Threats.
The SlotBack prototype would be about 5010/195 or so.Quick. Chain Movers.
However a given Coach chooses to deploy the Soldiers at his disposal is of course entirely up to him, and most WideOuts will see Snaps at multiple Positions and in multiple Alignments, but I believe that it is valuable to categorize WideOuts in terms of classic Skill Sets, to better define the differences in the kind of Impact they might wield at the next level.
This is how I break things down when I'm evaluating all WideOuts:
Separation: Getting Open. This encompasses Combat Skills & Fluidity to beat Press, Acceleration out'f the Blocks, Fluidity and Ricochet in navigating Traffic, Route Running Precision, the capacity to deceive Defenders, and Field Vision for Timing Seems and Open Zones. All other Aspects of a WideOut's Job Description are dwarfed by this one.
Catch Point Capacity: In Transit or Contested: Hands, WingSpan, Vertical Agility, Combat Skills, and Timing.
Yards After Catch are well and fine, but it seems to me that 90% of the Value of a Flex End and any WideOut is getting open and catching the Ball. Anyone who's read my Work extensively knows that I consider Blocking to be the Heart & Soul of FootBall, but that is a philosophical position, and I recognize that with most Philosophies, where it comes to Wide Receivers and Flex Ends...it's just Gravy. And so is Yards After Catch: Moving The Chains is What Wins.
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: 60, but with immense Potential. I'd only rate his Speed as adept ~ a tick above average ~ but his Acceleration, Fluidity, and Ricochet are phenomenal. He's deficient against Press Coverage, of course, because of his Frame and WingSpan, but it's his sloppy Route Running that concerns me. His Instincts, mind you, are tremendous, and his improvisational skills are magnificent...But he is too inclined to use them first, rather than to run the Route that was expected'f'm and improvise within than framework. If he cleans it up, though, he could be amazing.
Catch Point Capacity: 40, but with considerable Potential. He's Short, his WingSpan is Shorter, and his Hands are woefully inconsistent. I will say, though, that his Timing & Trajectory are impressive, and his Vertical Agility is exceptional, so there's some upside, there. Mostly, he just needs to simmer down and wait to catch the Ball before he turns upfield. With his impediments, his upside on Jump Balls is only competitive, but in Transition, his potential is extraordinary.
Chunk Yardage: 90. He's not Strong, but he's very Tough, and his fusion of Field Vision and Agility is awesome.
Blocking: 50, and I mean that as a compliment. I'd give'm 25 based on Power and Frame, and his Combat Skills are raw, to boot, but James has the Balls of a Lion, and aggressively seeks out an initiates contact!!
He's a bit of a Whack Job.
His relationships with the Routes he's supposed to run are disturbingly casual, and his Focus at the Catch Point seems rather Jekyll & Hyde, as well. His capacity to improvise is top shelf, but my greatest concern, based on his tendency to show a bit too much Johnny Manziel for my liking, is whether or not James has The Right Stuff to become All That He Can Be.
I'm always looking for insight into whether or not a Prospect has what it takes, mentally and emotionally, to fulfill his Potential. And it seems to me that those tendencies could possibly be indicators that he might lack the Attention to Detail ~ and indeed perhaps the Attention Span ~ necessary for the consistent, persistent, and sustained Focus and Dedication that's crucial to developing expertise in the thousand nuances that he'll need to master in order to actualize his extraordinary Talent.
Having expressed that concern...
Now it's time to note that he conversely ~ and in my Book, of considerably more importance ~ exhibits lofty levels of Intelligence and Drive. His Route Running may be sloppy and frighteningly undisciplined, but his Field Vision, his Instincts for the Open Zone, and his Tracking & Timing are phenomenal. And his toughness in Traffic and ferocious Blocking obliterates any questions I might otherwise've had about his Drive. James is a bit of a loose cannon, and needs to do a better job of focusing his extraordinary energy, but energy in abundance he has, and it seems crystal clear that he loves FootBall in every regard. Nor does he strike me as a Prima Donna without respect for structure so much as someone who simply needs structure. Nobody who blocks with that kind of intensity is thinking about his highlight reels. And nobody who's developed those kinds of Instincts does so without putting in a lot of Time & Training over the years. He just needs direction.
And that's what we have the NFL for.
Ceiling? Beast!! 1st Rounder. Yep. James profiles as a SlotBack, of course, but in the 21st Century, SlotBacks are Starters, and in any Century, Players who are borderline impossible to cover ~ as James has the clear Potential to become ~ and who can therefore Move The Chains all day long and win Games and Championships are invaluable.
Floor? Reserve. 6th/7th Rounder. At 182 Pounds, James is on the borderline of being a FlexBack ~ what you Earthlings refer to as a Gadget Player or Satellite Back ~ and may very well be deployed as one, if his Coaches are foolish enough. More importantly, as far as his Intrinsic Value is concerned ~ his Value, regardless of how foolish his Coaches are ~ it's always possible that I've evaluated his Character incorrectly, that his Lunacy overcomes his Intensity ~ it's a fine line!! ~ and, consequently, that he never refines his Route Running or Focus and tops out as a Return Specialist.
Risk/Reward Ratio? Exceptional. He's whacked, but I'm confident that his Intensity masters his Lunacy and harnesses it.
Richie James may not look it, but he is a Beast, a WorkHorse, and a Grinder.
He ran that Offense in Middle Tennessee.
Pay the man.
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!!