Lion ~ Arik Armstead ~ Oregon WebFoots 6070/290
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.
* Paw Power ~ The Power & Speed of the initial Punch.
* Paw Velocity ~ How active the Hands are.
* Paw Positioning ~ It's all about Angles & Leverage.
* Frame ~ Above all: WingSpan.
* Processing Speed ~ Field Vision. Rapidly Reading & Reacting to the Offense.
* Motor ~ Intensity and Duration.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
* Combat Skills
Agility: Impressive. His Launch Velocity and his Acceleration are mediocre, but what really intrigues me about Armstead is his phenomenal Fluidity. His Range suffers because of his Acceleration, but in a short area, he is incredibly dangerous.
Combat Skills: Outstanding and trending towards magnificent. Armstead exhibits phenomenal, devastating Paw Power, and while his Mechanics are a bit raw, his Hand Speed is deliciously violent, and his Frame is awesome.
Intangibles: Mediocre. His Field Vision & Processing Speed have a ways to go. I see no problem with'is Motor.
Run Defense: Exceptional and with Potential to be phenomenal. The Core Power that he routinely manifests, considering his towering height and its implicit Leverage Liability, is astonishing. He's still on the raw side, having only recently dropped BasketBall to focus full time on FootBall, but his overall Agility is impressive, and while his Field Vison and Processing Speed have quite a long ways to go, his Combat Skills are beautiful and potentially awesome.
Pass Rush: Impressive and with Potential to become oustanding. He's even rawer in this Aspect of the Game than in the Run Game, but Armstead brings enough Drive Power, Agility, and raw Combat Skills to wreak a load of Havoc, if he manages to put it all together. His WingSpan isn't optimal, but the rest of his Skill Set is formidable.
But I came away thrilled with this guy: Armstead's BasketBall BackGround is in Full Flower on Tape, as he is blessed with magnificent Core Agility. This extraordinary Fluidity not only enables him to twist and turn like a 6070 Serpent around the flailing grasp of beguiled Offensive Linemen, but it also augments his outstanding Core Power.
I don't foresee'm winning the Pass Rush Game with Speed, but his combination of Power, Combat Skills, and absolutely serpentine Fluidity is exhilarating. When he develops his Repertoire, he could become terrifying.
And while his mediocre Acceleration should inhibit his Range in the Running Game, his startling Anchoring Strength, his tremendous Combat Skills, and his Fluidity should translate into a disruptive Force at the next level.
The beautiful thing about Lions is that they're naturally versatile. I can see Armstead making an Impact in 43 Formations as an End or as interior Rusher in Sub Packs, and as a 34 Defensive End, he could be phenomenal.
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!!