Offensive Center ~ Brian Allen ~ Michigan State
The Gutters are riddled with the Corpses of Teams that were built around so-called "skill" Players ~ teams that delighted their Fantasy FootBall Fans every Year, all the way until January...until The Only Games That Really Matter.
It is then, of course, that the Capacity ~ or lack thereof ~ to Move The Chains and protect the QuarterBack against PlayOff Caliber Defenses rears its ugly head. And another Team built for Fantasy FootBall bites the dust.
This is how I break things down, when I'm evaluating Centers:
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 will still fail if you simply can't dig in your Heels. But Core Power enables an Offensive Lineman to project Power in the Running Game and to reject Power in the Passing 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 lurching around like FrankenStein.
Frame: Vertical Leverage, Hands, Arm Length, and WingSpan.
Combat Skills: Horizontal Leverage, Paw Positioning, Paw Persistence, and FootWork.
Processing Speed: How quickly and effectively one Reads & Reacts to the Rapidly Roiling Tactical LandScape!!
Motor: Endurance and Drive: How much Work has been put into Conditioning, and how it manifests itself.
Run Blocking: Applying it all: Power, Agility, Frame, Combat Skills, Processing Speed, and Motor.
Pass Blocking: Power, Agility, Frame, Combat Skills, Processing Speed, and Motor.
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 in the Passing Game. The capacity to Stand One's Ground.
* Drive Power in the Running Game. The capacity to drive your man back.
* Fluidity, above all things: Core Agility & Flexibility makes everything possible.
* Launch Velocity ~ Speed into Contact off the Snap.
* Acceleration ~ Short Speed or Quickness.
* Vertical Leverage. Height is crucial, but it's actually better, I believe, to be an Inch shorter than an Inch Taller.
* Hands. The larger the better, generally, but compact is never a bad Attribute in The Trenches.
* Arm Length. Absolutely crucial. He who boasts the longer Arms initiates Combat.
* WingSpan. Arm Length + Torso Width. A more complete Measurement.
* Lateral Leverage. Angles. Getting Square or better with the Target.
* Paw Positioning ~ It's all about Angles & Leverage.
* Paw Persistence ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* FootWork ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* Reading & Reacting to Defensive Schemes & Stunts quickly and effectively.
* Field Vision: Finding Targets & approaching them effectively.
* Power ~ Drive Power to project Power in the Running Game.
* Agility ~ especially Acceleration DownField or to the Flank.
* Frame ~ especially Vertical Leverage.
* Combat Skills.
* Processing Speed.
* Power ~ Anchoring Strength to reject Power in the Passing Game.
* Agility ~ especially Fluidity to Mirror the Pass Rusher.
* Frame ~ especially WingSpan.
* Combat Skills.
* Processing Speed.
Agility: Exceptional. Sufficient Launch Velocity into his Set in Pass Protection and into his Surge in the Running Game. Exceptional Fluidity to Mirror in Pass Protection and to change direction in the Open Field in the Running Game. Tremendous Speed to the Flanks or to the Second Level in the Running Game.
Frame: Impressive. He's started both at Center and at Guard, but he's got the Right Height for delivering maximum Vertical Leverage as a Center, and seems to have an impressive WingSpan, though I'll await The Combine on that.
Combat Skills: Excellent. Allen exhibits terrific Command of Lateral Leverage, consistently positioning himself to get Square or better with'is Foe. He displays exceptional Paw Positioning, consistently working to get inside his Opponent's Frame, tremendous Paw Persistence throughout the Play, and tireless FootWork.
Processing Speed: Excellent. Allen consistently exhibits remarkable Speed & Efficacy in reading and reacting to Defensive Schemes & Stunts in Pass Protection, and is equally adept at finding and approaching Targets in the Running Game.
Motor: Phenomenal. Relentless Effort and outstanding Endurance.
Run Blocking: Excellent. Allen possesses sufficient Power to become an adept Power Scheme Blocker, but I believe that his Strength is clearly as a Zone Scheme Team Blocker, where his outstanding combination of Speed and Processing Speed will enable'm to drive deep behind Enemy Lines rapidly and accurately, wreaking Havoc & Disruption!!
Pass Blocking: Excellent. Allen exhibits exceptional Fluidity to Mirror, effective Power to Anchor, excellent Combat Skills, and the Processing Speed to sniff out Stunts and Twists rapidly enough to deploy his LineMates effectively.
Trajectory > A Philosophical Formula that calculates a Prospect's Potential & Risk, based on perceptions of Talent, Intelligence, Passion, and Work Ethic: Talent x Intelligence x Drive = Potential/Risk.
Brian Allen, as far as I'm concerned, is already highly developed, but I am extremely confident that he's going to continue to improve. His Command of Schemes, his speed to respond effectively to Stunts and Twists and to deploy his LineMates rapidly to meet them, and his excellent Combat Skills speak loudly and irrefutably not only to the Years of Hard Work needed to develop his Game to such an elevated level, but to the Intelligence to effectively apply his Learning.
There'll be more Tape to study in the Future, but at this juncture, it seems clear to me that Brian Allen as a very strong Bet to make an enormous Impact as a Zone Scheme Team Offensive Center, as an acutely Schematically Aware Line Commander in Pass Protection with the Fluidity and Power to excel, and as a dynamic and destructive Blocker in the Running Game, Wreaking Havoc all over the Field while inspiring and guiding his LineMates!!
Grateful Thanks, as always, for the crucial Work done by the folks at Draft BreakDown!
This is not is even remotely a Complaint, mind you, but rather a Warning: Caveat Emptor!!