Dragon ~ Carl Lawson ~ Auburn Tigers
Old Roles are getting dramatically transformed, and virtually every Front 7 ~ or Front 6!! ~ Defensive Job Description is transitioning into an Hybrid Role where the Defender is asked to excel in multiple Roles and in multiple Fronts.
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:
Dragons ~ This is my terminology for Players who may've played either Defensive End or what you Earthlings call "OutSide LineBacker" in College, and who in any case possess the Size to player either at the next level. They would generally be deployed as Ends in a 43 or as "OutSide LineBackers" in a 34, and have even been known to get deployed as Interior Rushers in the Nascar Package. The Prototype would generally be somewhere around 6050/265 or so.
Of course, where and how any given Coach chooses to deploy his Players is his Business. Players that I characterize as Dragons 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.
Dragons in a 43 are Defensive Linemen, but Dragons in a 34, for instance, are off the Line and may be asked to drop into Pass Coverage from time to time, so that capacity ~ observed or inferred is going to be part of my Evaluations.
When evaluating Dragons, 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 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. Above all: Pass Rush Repertoire.
Processing Speed: How quickly and effectively one Reads & Reacts to the Rapidly Roiling Tactical LandScape!!
Motor: Intensity and Stamina: How much Work has been put into Conditioning, and how it manifests itself.
Run Defense: All the Above, applied.
Pass Coverage: Ditto.
Pass Rush: Double Dirty Dog Ditto.
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, Rushing the Passer.
* 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.
* Pass Rush Repertoire: Variety.
* Reading & Reacting to Offensive Blocking Schemes with Speed & Precision.
* Field Vision: Finding Targets & approaching them effectively.
Power: Exceptional. Impressive Drive Power in the Pass Rush. Tremendous Anchoring Strength against The Run.
Agility: Effective. A mixed bag. Tremendous Launch Velocity. Marginal Fluidity. Mediocre Acceleration and Closing Speed. If the Play is right in front'f'm, he's elite. If the Play's to the left or right'f'm...not so much.
Frame: Mediocre. I actually like his Height & Weigh Combo, though 6015 is about an Inch too short for optimal Vertical Leverage, in my Book, though far better than most'd give'm Credit for...but his WingSpan sucks.
Combat Skills: Excellent. he doesn't exhibit consistent Command of Lateral Leverage, but that may be a result of marginal Fluidity, and his Paw Positioning is excellent, and his Paw Persistence and FootWork are tremendous. His Pass Rush Repertoire is impressive, as well. There's more Work to be done, but overall, he's well developed.
Processing Speed: Effective. He usually Reads & Reacts with adept Speed & Precision.
Motor: Sensational Intensity and Stamina.
Run Defense: Phenomenal. His low Center of Gravity renders extraordinary Vertical Leverage at The Point of Attack, and he clearly enjoys the Combat. His Range is mediocre, but his Motor and Combat Skills make up for it.
Pass Coverage: Not much Potential, there, due to'is FrankenSteinesque Verticity.
Pass Rush: Exceptional. His lack of WingSpan or Fluidity clearly slams a Cap on'is Potential, here, but his Launch Velocity and Power are a formidable Tandem, and his Combat Skills leverage them to maximum disruptive Benefit. I don't necessarily foresee Top Shelf Production, here, but he'll very likely become an Impact Player.
I'm not generally a big Fan of Linear, Fluidity Challenged Players like Carl Lawson, but I am a Fan of Carl Lawson. What he lacks in Fluidity and in WingSpan, he more than makes up for in explosive Launch Velocity, Power, Combat Skills, and Closing Speed. He's a bit on the Squat Side, but I consider that far less of a detriment than most do.
I believe that he's got the Potential to become an Impact Player both as a Pass Rusher and as an Edge Setting Run Defender, though one, mind you, who's not going to make many Tackles In Pursuit.
And I believe that his Chances of attaining his Potential are extremely high, due to plenty of Intelligence and Tons of Drive.
And I believe that he's almost certainly going to rapidly adapt to the next level, make an immediate and substantial Impact, and rapidly become a Locker Room Leader, Inspirational Leader, and Rabble Rouser.
The Sum of Carl Lawson's Whole...considerably outweigh his Parts.
Pay the Man.
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!