Yellow Jackets ~ 6015/225
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: Tremendous. Excellent Fluidity, Acceleration, and Range in Zone, and exceptional Verticity in Direct Coverage.
Run Support: Mediocre yet with substantial Potential. His Processing Speed and Field Vision are choppy as Hell, but his Fluidity, Acceleration, and Range are Excellent. His Combat Skills and Tackling were pretty shaky as a Flank Defender, but he exhibits impressive Paw Power and Hand Frequency. If he does in fact move to his natural Postion as a Rover, where he's working in Space with less direct exposure to Gorillas, those Aspects could become Strengths.
Pass Prevention: Competitive and with Potential. His Tracking & Timing are mediocre, but he's got some Vertical Agility.
But he sure looks 225 on Tape.
And if he's playing at 225 and flying around like that?? He should definitely play RoverBack.
That would entail a positional Conversion, of course, and the considerable Investement in Time & Training that go into that, but Brandon Watts brings one Hell of an intriguing combination of Attributes to a potential Conversion.
First off, he's got several Years of Experience as a Flanker and MidFielder to toughen'm up. Playing Rover is no breeze, mind you, as everyone knows. But while Watts has looked less than dominant, taking on the 300 Pound Gorillas of assorted Offensive Lines, I'll bet that the admittedly raw Combat Skills that he's learned there will help.
Second off, he's already an accomplished Pass Defender, which is usually the most difficult Aspect of playing Rover.
And Third off, he is a demonstrably phenomenal Athlete.
The mental Aspect is always the most challenging, and I'm not sure what to expect from Watts in that regard. However, my impression, both from Tape and from the Testimony of Writers who're infinitely better Connected than I, is that his Processing Speed and Field Vision is far better in Coverage than in Run Defense.
That is not only more critical at The Next Level, but strongly suggests that were he to move back a Level ~ were he to play Rover at The Next Level ~ the ability to deploy with the Play in front'f'm on Runs might very well prove to be a substantial enough advantage to enable him, especially with Time & Training, to elevate his Processing Speed considerably.
And in any case, it seems to me that his Floor is as a SubPack guy who gets a lot of Snaps in Nickel & Dime Alignments.
His Ceiling? With that fusion of natural Pass Coverage skills and phenomenal Agility?? Way up there.
Whether or not his Team actally takes the approach that I'm suggesting is another matter.
Thanks, as always, to the extraordinary Work by the men of Draft BreakDown!!
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