I find it to be an offensive way to dumb down the game. It ignores the 3 Way Hybrid Role that a complete HalfBack embraces, and therefore ignores 2/3 of his Job, which obviates any explanation ~ or appreciation ~ of the myriad of options and responsibilities that are incumbant with the Job. FootBall, I need not say, is a wonderfully complex fusion of tactics and action, one that better simulates actual warfare, without the violence, than any other Sport, I believe, by fully employing and engaging all the most exqusitely beautiful and savage aspects of our physical and mental capacity for making War...with minimal bloodshed.
A HalfBack...is a Warrior ~ a Gladiator ~ with specific, complex responsibilities, in support of his fellow Gladiators, who depend on him, as he depends on them. A HalfBack...is not some pansy who simply runs around on a field of grass! I digress!
I divide most HalfBacks into PowerBacks or SpeedBacks, based on Weight, with the dividing line being somewhere around 216, which I incidentally consider to be the optimal Weight for any HalfBack. But I will occasionally stray a few Pounds, in either direction, in characterizing individual Prospects, depending on their individual Strengths and Liabilities.
I dabbled, once, with referring to HalfBacks with especially well-developed Receiving Games as "FlexBacks", but as I've come to believe that any HalfBack that doesn't bring a Passing Game element to the BattleField is simply a HalfBack with a Passing Game Liability, I now apply that term exclusively to the Spry Flies who're too light even to be considered SpeedBacks!
As to how I break them down, I expect that the terms are pretty self-explanatory:
PowerBacks ~ HalfBacks who do their best Work between the Tackles..
SpeedBacks ~ HalfBacks who do their best Work outside the Tackles.
The PowerBack prototype would be about 5110/220 or so.
The SpeedBack prototype would be about 5100/200 or so.
One last note on this: There are of course PowerBacks with dubious Power, and SpeedBacks with dubious Speed or Fluidity, but dividing them this way seemed an effective way to categorize most of them without getting insanely complex! :)
Indeed, Power and Speed ~ better yet: Agility ~ are crucial to the success of either kind of HalfBack. But I believe that it advances the discussion and better serves my Fellow FootBall Fanatics if I make an effort to distinguish between types.
This is how I break things down, when evaluating all HalfBacks:
Power: Above all: Core Power. Torso Power is important, but lower body Power, from the knees to the ribs, is absolutely crucial. A HalfBack's capacity to break Tackles and finish strong is more about Core Power than anything else.
Agility: Launch Velocity, Fluidity, Acceleration, and Ricochet. Speed is all well and good, but in terms of actually winning FootBall games, it is pure gravy. What wins Championships is Moving The Chains. And that is accomplished far more consistently by guys who exhibit the Fluidity and Ricochet ~ and the Processing Speed ~ to consistently pick up 5 or 10 Yards at a time.
Speed: Mind you, blistering Speed is not, in and of itself, a bad thing! I instinctively distrust Speed, as its presence tends, far too often, to coincide with Liabilities of Fluidity and Field Vision, much as Rocket Arms in QuarterBacks too often coincide with Liabilities of Precision and Processing Speed. But as the best QuarterBacks tend to have average or good Arms, the best HalfBacks tends to have average or good Speed: An excess is unecessary, but a competitive amount is crucial!
Processing Speed: Diagnostic Acuity. Field Vision. That ethereal capacity to rapidly read and react to the rapidly roiling and boiling tactical landScape...and to foresee and envision lanes developing before they actually do.
Blocking: Giving Snaps to a HalfBack who doesn't block effectively is basically having 10 Men on the Field. Most HalfBacks just coming out'f College are mediocre Blockers, mind you, but this is a crucial skill that they'll ultimately need to master.
Receiving: Whether he be a PowerBack or a SpeedBack, a HalfBack that can effectively present a genuine threat in the Passing Game dramatically increases his team's options on any given play. And the more dynamic the threat he presents, the more valuable to his team on the Field of Battle, whether he's just slipping out'f the backfield or splitting out wide.
Broken down into SubCategories, it'd go something like this:
* Core Power is most of it. Tyrannosaurus Rex would've made an Hell of an HalfBack.
* Torso Power doesn't hurt, though.
* Launch Velocity
* Zoom, zoom, zoom, baby!
* That ethereal Capacity to foresee and envision Lanes developing before they actually do.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
* Catch Point Capacity
* YAC Attack!
Please note: For purposes of time and space, and to avoid boring the Hell out'f y'all, I'm not going to include Prospects where my opinion was the same as The Market, whether that was determined before The Draft by my research, or afterwards, based on where the Prospect was actually drafted. There are hundreds of such Prospects, so I'll focus on the interesting ones.
My thinking is that by concentrating on the far fewer Prospects wherein I and The Market had a divergence of opinion, this will not only be far more interesting to you and me, it'll also be far more educational...mostly to me!!
Oy. Gave this guy a 1st Round Grade, I did. The Titans picked'm at #54, late 2nd Round, which I thought was pretty smart'f them. But Sankey made'm look pretty foolish ~ though not as foolish as me!! ~ utterly disappearing after 2 short years.
I suppose that I could argue that Carey didn't get a fair shake, because he never got a Starter's Snaps. And you can rest assured that I've left plenty of my favorite Prospects off of my "Fails" list, based on them never getting a genuine opportunity, and that I make no apology for it! But he got Snaps enough. He was just mediocre, is all, providing Production far more befitting the 4th Round Pick ~ #117 ~ that the Bears spent on'm than the 1st/2nd Round Grade that I imagined he warranted! Whoops!
Boy oh boy, did I miss on this one. The Fish picked Drake in the 3rd Round at #73. Me, I lambasted'm with a 7th Round Grade, and the funny part ~ if you've got a sick sense of humor ~ is that I felt very confident in doing so! Drake has proven to be an explosive, dynamic threat in both the Run Game and the Pass Game. He is an ascending Star in my eyes, and in that of the world, too, if he gets more Snaps. The Fish got a tremendous bargain, and I, evidently, am a drooling idiot!
Rarely, if ever, have I ever been more confident about the prospective success that a MidRounder HalfBack was going to have at the next level than I was about DeVonta Freeman's chances. The Falcons wisely picked Freeman at #103. I naturally gave'm a 1st Round Grade, and he has earned that and then some, developing quickly into one of the very most explosively elite SpeedBacks on the planet, both as Runner and Receiver...before breaking down and rapidly fading away!
At one point in 2016, this was looking like a Win of epic proportions, though that's looking very unlikely, at this point. The Fish shrewdly picked Ajayi in the 5th Round, at #149. Me, I had a Top 10 Grade on'm, thank you very much, and in 2016, Ajayi had a year ~ especially a particular 3 game stretch ~ where his enormous potential became obvious to all. He was a rising Star, but then things went awry in Miami, he got traded the next Halloween, and then tore an ACL in 2018. Therefore, he shouldn't really be expected to be 100% until 2020, and he might not ever get a Starter's Snaps, again, deserve'm though he does. Nevertheless, he proved in 2016 that, if you give'm the Ball and he avoids ACL injuries, he's worth every ounce of the Grade that I gave'm!
A lot of SpeedBacks that I rank sky high never get a legitimate chance to prove their value, but Jones ~ who I ranked moderately high ~ is an exception, receiving a 3rd/4th Round Grade from me, getting drafted in the 5th Round at #182 by the Packers, and then erupting in 2018 as an outrageously explosive Runner and a highly effective Receiver. A nice little Win. I'll take it!!
One of my favorite all-time Picks. The Miners signed Breida as a UFA out'f Georgia Southern. I gave'm a 1st Round Grade. Matthew Breida is already an ascending Star, with years of greatness prospectively in front'f'm.
And I've compounded this headlong enthusiasm by managing to splash my only red ink on the only Prospect in 2016, Kenyon Drake, who actually succeeded!! That's about as bad as evaluation gets, Ladies and Laddies!! Ah, well. I've survived. And perhaps I've learned a thing or two, as I don't have any decisive defeats in either of the last two years.