Center ~ Christian Westerman
Arizona State Sun Devils ~ 6030/299
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.
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 Blocking: Power, Agility, Combat Skills, Processing Speed, and Motor.
Pass Blocking: Power, Agility, 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.
* Frame ~ Arms, Hands, and above all: WingSpan.
* Field Vision ~ Reacting to the Tactical LandScape: It's all about Angles & Leverage.
* Paw Positioning ~ It's all about Angles & Leverage.
* Paw Persistence ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* FootWork ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* Processing Speed ~ Field Vision. Reading Defensive Schemes quickly and effectively, and finding 2nd Level Targets.
* Motor ~ Intensity and Duration.
* Power ~ Drive Power to project Power in the Running Game.
* Agility ~ especially Acceleration DownField or to the Flank.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
* Power ~ Anchoring Strength to reject Power in the Passing Game.
* Agility ~ especially Fluidity to Mirror the Pass Rusher.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
Agility: Tremendous. Excellent Launch Velocity, outstanding Acceleration, and extraordinary Fluidity.
Combat Skills: Phenomenal. Tremendous Mechanics, and as I project him inside to Center, Westerman commands comparatively incredible Length, absolutely gigantic Paws, and a sensational WingSpan.
Intangibles: Extraordinary. Tremendous Field Vision and Processing Speed. Terrific Motor. Outstanding Endurance.
Run Blocking: Even moving inside to Center, Westerman would be far better suited for a Zone Blocking Team, because of his mediocre Power. But in Space, trapping, pulling, and UpField, he has outstanding Potential.
Pass Blocking: Power will be a concern if not an outright Liability, but Westerman's phenomenal Length, enormous Paws, and WingSpan, his remarkably well developed Mechanics, his extraordinary Fluidity, and his remarkably acute capacity to read Defenses and rapidly diagnose Stunts and Schemes, will win him far more Battles than he will lose, and his relentless Motor and outstanding Endurance ~ feet that never stop ~ will win him yet more!!
Having blithely reclassified two of the top Center Prospects from this Class ~ Ryan Kelly and Nick Martin ~ as Offensive Guards because of my idiosyncratic aversion to deploying Prospects of a certain Height at that Position, I had hitherto rendered the Position virtually barren, with only poor old Jack Allen left there to man the Position!!
Fortunately, Christian Westerman seems to me a tremendous fit at Center, and I'm therefore projecting him thither.
I roll my eyes at lofty Bench Press numbers such as Westerman led the Field with at the Combine, and do indeed go so far ~ as noted above ~ as to consider such numbers Red Flags, much like a blazing 40 Yard Dash Time, as I believe both Splash Numbers tend to have a strong historical correlation with neglect of other, more vital Aspects of the Game.
And I believe that Christian Westerman has indeed neglected his Core Power in favor of the more glamorous Bench Press Pursuit, and I believe that it's going to cost him, because in The Trenches Core Power is what wins.
Having said that...It's crystal clear that the last thing that Christian Westerman is is a WorkOut Warrior.
Christian Westerman is the son of a 3 Year Starter at Arizona State, and it's clear that he has not only been availing himself of his Father's Expertise for many Years, but has gone above and beyond in mastering every Aspect of this Great Game: His Combat Skills are extraordinarily well developed and so is his Field Vision and Processing Speed.
We have here a classic example of what happens when Talent, Intelligence, and Work Ethic combine as one.
"Trajectory > A mercurial Formula that blends Talent, Speed of Improvement, and the Probability of continuing that Speed of Improvement, based on perceived Intelligence, Passion, and Work Ethic: Talent x Intelligence x Drive."
Westerman is an awfully good Bet to become all that he can be.
And all that he can be, it seems to me, is a lot.
Westerman, despite mediocre Power ~ and yes: I know that 99% of you Earthlings will consider me Bat Shit Crazy to write that about a guy who hoisted 34 Bench Press Reps!! ~ brings an extraordinary fusion of Agility, Processing Speed, and Drive to the BattleField. And his Length, Hands, and WingSpan are enormous additional Advantages.
Usually, projecting a Guard inside to Center introduces a pretty decent chunk of Risk, due to the Prospect's inexperience making Line Calls, setting Blocking Assignments, and the like...but not in this case.
Christian Westerman, it seems to me, was born to play the Position.
His Work Ethic is awesome.
His Field Vision is terrific.
He's a natural Leader.
I believe that we're talking about the Potential for multiple Pro Bowls.
So while I reject the Hype attached to the Bench Press business, put me down for my own Hype about this kid.
I am a big Fan.
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!!