Lion End ~ Christopher Wormley ~ Michigan Wolverines ~ 6050/299
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:
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 Lion Ends, 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: Endurance and Drive: How much Work has been put into Conditioning, and how it manifests itself.
Run Defense: All the Above, applied.
Pass Rush: 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: Impressive. Effective Drive Power. Exceptional Anchoring Strength.
Agility: Effective. Sufficient Launch Velocity. Impressive Fluidity. Decent Acceleration to the Play.
Frame: Effective. Good Height/Weight Proportion for his Hybrid Role, though better at Power End in a 34 than at Speed Tackle or Power Tackle in a 43 ~ better Vertical Leverage on the OutSide. Effective WingSpan, as well.
Combat Skills: Marginal. Good Paw Positioning, but mediocre Lateral Leverage, mediocre Paw Persistence, marginal FootWork, and very little in the way of a Pass Rushing Repertoire. He needs a ton of Work, here.
Processing Speed: Competitive. He usually Reads & Reacts to the Tactical LandScape fairly quickly and effectively.
Motor: Excellent. Tremendous Intensity. Exceptional Endurance.
Run Defense: Effective. Not powerful enough to stand up to Double Teams, but otherwise adequately stout at The Point of Attack, and will be far better if he develops his Combat Skills. Steady Motor and effective Agility In Pursuit.
Pass Rush: Mediocre, but with some Potential. He's got a little Power, a decent chunk of Fluidity, a substantial WingSpan, and a tremendous Motor. If he develops his Combat Skills, he could become consistently Disruptive.
I do indeed get the Idea that Christopher Wormley will take Time to develop, but I believe that enough Drive can and usually does eventually produce substantial Improvement in Processing Speed. And improving Combat Skills, though currently more'f a Liability for'm, is far simpler, given the Will To Work, which he would appear to have in Abundance.
Mind you: I don't believe that his Talent is by any means stellar, nor his eventual Success a given. But I do like his Chances of Success, and I believe that he's got a good Chance of eventually developing into an effective Starter: a solid Run Defender, and a Pass Rusher who get far more Pressure than Sacks. But Pressure = Production, baby!!
Value? I believe that the Market has gotten slightly ahead of itself. But I'm a Fan of this Man!!
* Update. Looks like The Market and I'ave switched positions on Wormley. When I originally wrote this up in March, he was projected to go in the 2nd/3rd Round Range ~ late 2nd/early 3rd ~ whereas I saw his Value being a half a Click South of there ~ simply the 3rd Round. Well, he ended up going #74, which is pretty close to smack dab in the middle of the 3rd Round, though it can also definitely be interpreted as "late 2nd/early 3rd", a case of us both being "right."
The amusing part is that, in light of the explosive Intrinsic Power, Speed, and Fluidity revealed on Michigan's Pro Day ~ raw Talent that I believe that a Man with his ferocious Intensity has a good Chance of unlocking and unleashing over the next few Years ~ I'm jacking my Rank & Grade on'm up a full Click and a Half. Beast!! 1st/2nd Round!!
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!!