Lion End ~ Adolphus Washington ~ Ohio State BuckEyes ~ 6033/301
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 upper body strength in the world still fails if you can't dig in your heels. But Core Power enables a Defensive Lineman to project Power in the Passing Game and to reject Power in the Running Game.
Agility: Launch 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: Paw Power, Mechanics ~ Hand Speed & Positioning ~ and of course: Frame.
Intangibles: Processing Speed and Motor. Processing Speed or Diagnostic Velocity is about how quickly and effectively one Reads & Reacts to how the Rapidly Roiling Tactical LandScape effects Blocking Schemes, and Motor is about Endurance and Drive: How much Work has been put into Conditioning, and how it manifests itself.
Run Defense: Power, Agility, Combat Skills, and Processing Speed.
Pass Rush: Power, Agility, and Combat Skills.
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 in the Pass Rush.
* Fluidity, above all things: Core Agility & Flexibility makes everything possible.
* Launch Velocity ~ Speed into Contact off the Snap.
* Acceleration ~ Short Speed or Quickness.
* Frame ~ Arms, Hands, and above all: WingSpan.
* Field Vision ~ Reacting to the Tactical LandScape: It's all about Angles & Leverage.
* Paw Positioning ~ It's all about Angles & Leverage.
* Paw Persistence ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* FootWork ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* Processing Speed ~ Field Vision. Rapidly Reading & Reacting to the Offense.
* Motor ~ Intensity and Duration.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
* Combat Skills
Agility: Exceptional all-around Agility ~ Launch Velocity, Acceleration, and Fluidity. Far better than his Combine Numbers.
Combat Skills: Exceptional. Active Hands and a well-developed Pass Rush Repertoire.
Intangibles: Mediocre. Mediocre Field Vision, a mediocre Motor, and mediocre Conditioning. Others might actually rank'm lower than I, especially on the last two Aspects, and he certainly ran out'f juice against Michigan State. But I generally viewed inconsistency, not Sloth, and Washington did, after all, play an enormous percentage of Snaps.
Run Defense: Washington has terrific Range in Pursuit, and his combination of Launch Velocity, Fluidity, and Combat Skills should make'm a persistent presence in the Enemy BackField. However, I do believe that he'll prove to be an enormous Liability at the Point of Attack, and I wouldn't line'm up at the 3 if there's any Chance of a Run.
Pass Rush: He's certainly got Potential here, as he's got the Fluidity, the Speed, and the Combat Skills to threaten the Pocket on any Snap. But Power is going to be an enormous Problem for'm, I think.
But I don't feel anywhere near as high on Washington as I do the others. Partly, this is because I believe that the others are considerably more Fast & Fluid, partly because I like their Combat Skills a bit more, partly because I don't consider their Core Power nearly as atrocious as Washington's...and partly because of how I perceive their Intelligence & Drive.
Trajectory ~ Talent x Intelligence x Drive = Potential ~ cuts both ways.
And while I would not presume to say that I know Adolphus Washington well enough to declare that he lacks sufficient Intelligence or Drive to succeed, neither can I claim to've been inspired with anywhere near the Confidence in his Intelligence and Drive as I have been with that of Sheldon Day and Maliek Collins.
And in this Game of evaluating Prospects ~ of crafting Amateur Scouting Reports ~ I believe that such a Prospect carries significant Risk of Failure, and that the Grade & Rank that I declare must be attenuated accordingly.
Washington has plenty of Potential, though. He's got the combat Skills, the Speed, and the Fluidity to make a significant Impact in Run Defense as both a BackField Disruptor and in Pursuit, and as a Pass Rusher.
And he could forge Success as either a 3 Tech in an Even Front or as a 5 Tech in an Odd Front...or indeed as both, considering the amorphous direction in which Defenses are headed, these days.
There is always more than meets the eye when evaluating People, and what I perceive as deficient Core Power, a dubious Motor, and mediocre Conditioning might have explanations that I know nothing about.
But I gotta call'm as I see'm, and right now my perspective and that of The Market are divergent.
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!