Hokies ~ 5115/213
I can no longer abide the application of the pathetically weak and flaccid term "Safety" to Gladiators.
It is struck from my Vocabulary.
The erstwhile "Free Safety" is truly the CenterFielder of the Defense. Honestly, I consider the term absolutely perfect.
And the erstwhile "Strong Safety", playing an increasingly hybrid Role and constantly improvising, is a RoverBack, I think.
When analyzing the Merits of a prospective RoverBack, this is how I personally break things down:
Intangibles: Diagnostic Acuity, Field Vision, and, above all: Processing Speed. And of course: Motor. Motor Matters.
Agility: Acceleration, Fluidity, and Closing Speed. And of course: Verticity!! Turning & Burning in Direct Coverage.
Run Support: Appetite, Tactical Discipline, and Combat Skills ~ working through Traffic & Tackling Mechanics.
Pass Prevention: Timing, Vertical Burst, WingSpan, and don't forget the Brutality!!
Agility: Impressive. Not spectacular, but Exum possesses plenty Fluidity, Acceleration, and Closing Speed to compete.
Pass Prevention: Outstanding. Tracking, Timing, and Combat Skills are all superb.
Run Support: Excellent. His Combat Skills & Tackling need some Work, but great Hands and a terrific Appetite for Contact.
I'm confident that he could play any of RoverBack ~ "Strong Safety", to you Earthlings ~ or CenterFielder ~ "Free Safety" ~ or CornerBack effectively, and have in fact had him in each of those 3 Categories at one time or another!!
My impression of Antone Exum's Prospects are of course based entirely on his 2011 Tape ~ when he played CenterFielder and some Rover ~ and his 2012 Tape, his first Year at CornerBack, as he essentially missed the entire 2013 Campaign.
Strangely ~ though not at all unusually ~ his Market Value seems to be based on that non-existent 2013 Campaign.
Which is to say: He doesn't have much Market Value.
He was generally projected for the 5th/6th Round Range, and indeed went in the 6th Round at #182.
I find that astonishing...yet not at all surprising.
The Draft is a fascinating Spectacle, where Professionals directing FootBall Teams worth Billions of Dollars frequently make decisions that seem to these naive eyes to be as thoroughly thought out and well considered as the drunken sputtering of Fantasy FootBall Fans on Draft Night, 12 Rounds and 14 Bud Lights into the Process.
Not that I'm bagging on Fantasy FootBall, mind you.
I've been known to indulge in a League or two.
But there may've been a Fizzy Lifting Drink or three consumed when we were selecting our Teams...is all I'm saying.
Antone Exum could become a very solid starting CornerBack, I think, with that Skill Set.
And I believe that he could become a fine starting CenterFielder.
But I believe that his superior yet not extraordinary Agility would limit him as a CenterFielder.
Likewise, I believe that precisely those same issues would put a ceiling on'm as a CornerBack.
But he is built to player RoverBack.
Exum's Skill Set is perfect for RoverBack:
His Agility, adequate for CenterField or Corner, is outstanding for RoverBack.
His Size, which slows him down at CenterField or Corner, is an huge Asset at RoverBack.
He's actually got an Appetite for Run Defense, which is almost incidental at Corner and CenterField, but crucial at Rover.
And he's got the makings of a very natural Pass Defender, which is as enormous Asset at Rover.
Concerns about his long term health are hilarious: He's essentially only had the one Injury, which he kicked @$$ while playing on for almost an entire Season, and then aggravated. Aside from that, he didn't miss a single Game.
RoverBack is a ludicrously undervalued Positions in today's Game: The very Spine of the Defense runs through it.
And Antone Exum brings an astonishingly unique Skill Set to that Position:
1 ~ An incredibly successful record of Pass Coverage, both as a CenterFielder and as a CornerBack: The one Year that he played Corner, 2012, his Burn Rate, according to the venerable Greg Peshek, was a spectacularly low 36%, and he produced no less than 20 Passes Defended!! And he ran at a 39% Rate, the Year before, at CenterField!!
2 ~ Superior Field Vision that is only going to improve if he's allowed to settle into one Position, not 3.
3 ~ Impressive Agility that will enable him to be a Force against both the Pass and the Run.
4 ~ A Run Defender's Appetite for Contact.
Because he was moved around all over the place, Antone Exum is still a bit raw, most especially at RoverBack, where he has in fact played the least, but the very fact that his Coaches trusted him to play all over Hell's Creation illustrates that those who should know did know that he possesses the Intelligence and the Drive to manage such Changes.
And the fact that he played at such a phenomenal level one Year at CenterFielder and RoverBack and then immediately turned around and played at the same incredible level at CornerBack tells me that they were correct.
Antone Exum is little bit of a Lunatic out there, I'll grant you, and he's gonna get a lot of Flags until he acclimates himself.
Circumstance and the Idiocy of the Masses have sent his Stock tumbling so far that he got drafted late on Day 3.
Therefore, Genuine Opportunity is going to be hard to come by.
But I don't included Politics and the Stupidity of General Managers in my Calculus.
Not if I can help it, anyway: I import quite enough of my own. Haw.
Based on sheer Talent x Intelligence x Drive, the Trajectory is see for Antone Exum is extraordinary.
Whether or not he gets a Genuine Opportunity to prove me right is another matter.
Thanks, as always, to the extraordinary Work by the men of Draft BreakDown!!
Consensus Market Value