SpeedBack ~ Dalvin Cook ~ Florida State Seminoles ~ 5111/210
I've come to believe that any HalfBack that doesn't bring a Passing Game element to the BattleField is...incomplete.
Hence, the term "FlexBack" ~ although quite cool, I believe!! ~ short-circuits the Evaluation Process.
As to how I break them down, I expect that the terms are pretty self-explanatory:
PowerBacks ~ HalfBacks who do their best Work between the Tackles..
SpeedBacks ~ HalfBacks who do their best Work outside the Tackles.
The PowerBack prototype would be about 5115/220 or so.
The SpeedBack prototype would be about 5010/200 or so.
Those are gross oversimplifications, of course, and many HalfBacks will manifest Attributes of both styles. Indeed, Power and Speed ~ better yet: Agility ~ are crucial to the Success of either kind of HalfBack. But I believe that it advances the discussion and better serves my Fellow FootBall Fanatics if I make an effort to distinguish between types.
This is how I break things down, when evaluating all HalfBacks:
Power: Above all: Core Power. Upper body Power is important, but lower body Power, from the Knees to the Ribs, is absolutely crucial. An HalfBack's Capacity to break Tackles is more about Core Power than anything else.
Agility: Launch Velocity, Fluidity, Acceleration, and Ricochet. Long Speed is all well and good, but at the end of the day, it is Gravy. What wins Championships is Moving The Chains. And Moving The Chains is accomplished far more consistently by the guys who exhibit the Agility ~ and the Focus ~ to consistently pick up 5 and sometimes 10 Yards at a time.
Processing Speed: Diagnostic Velocity. Field Vision. That ethereal Capacity to Rapidly Read & React to the Rapidly Roiling & Boiling Tactical LandScape...and to foresee and envision Lanes developing before they actually do.
Blocking: Having an HalfBack who doesn't Block effectively is like having 10 Men on the Field of Battle. Most HalfBacks just coming out'f College are mediocre Blockers, but this is a crucial Aspect of the Game that they'll need to master.
Receiving: Whether he be a PowerBack or a SpeedBack, an HalfBack that can effectively present a genuine Threat in the Passing Game dramatically increases his Team's Options on any given Play. The more dynamic the Threat, the more valuable to'is Team on the Field of Battle, whether he's just slipping out'f the BackField or splitting out Wide.
Broken down into SubCategories, it'd go something like this:
* Core Power is most of it. Tyrannosaurus Rex would've made an Hell of an HalfBack.
* Torso Power doesn't hurt, though.
* Launch Velocity
* Long Speed
* That ethereal Capacity to foresee and envision Lanes developing before they actually do.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
* Catch Point Capacity
Agility: Magnificent. He's not especially Fast, but he is Quick: His Speed is impressive, but his Acceleration to and through the Line of Scrimmage ~ or around the end'f it ~ is explosive. What's most dynamic about his Agility, though, is his combination of sweet, smooth, serpentine Fluidity and above all his electrically explosive Ricochet!!
Field Vision: Phenomenal. Cook reads the Tactical LandScape with absolutely amazing Speed and Precision, routinely anticipating Seems, patiently awaiting Blocks to develop, and hitting Holes with perfect Timing. And he's no obnoxious Boom or Bust Runner, either: He doesn't bury his Team by dancing around in the BackField, gambling away Short Gains in the Quest for The Big Run. He takes what's there, reliably Moving The Chains, and then looks for The Big Play.
Blocking: Marginal. Mediocre Processing Speed against Pass Rush Schemes. Mediocre Motor. Poor Paw Positioning.
Receiving: Extraordinary. Terrific Tracking & Timing. Impressive Hands. And his sensational combination of Field Vision and Agility, together with remarkable Power, render'm extremely dangerous after the Catch.
DeMerit: Cook fumbles the Ball. A lot. And it's not Bad Luck. It's Bad Form. And he's had Legal Issues.
His Ricochet ~ how quickly, crisply, and explosively he cuts ~ is absolutely incredible. And he can string multiple Cuts together, one after another, without winding down, because his Core Power is so amazing.
He's Quick. His Acceleration through the Hole is awesome.
His Power is astonishing for 207 Pounds. His ability to bounce off Hits and power through tight Holes is tremendous.
And his Fluidity is outstanding.
But what makes Dalvin Cook such a NightMare on the Field of Battle are his Brains. His capacity to rapidly read and react to the Tactical LandScape with Speed and Precision is magnificent. Combining such incredible Processing Speed and Field Vision with that amazing Athletic Ability could make him the most dangerous Runner on the Planet.
And he's got genuine 100 Catch Capacity, if he learns how to Block.
Red Flags? Absolutely. The Blocking, I'm not worried about. Most HalfBacks suck at Blocking when they join the NFL, but then they find out that they won't play all that much if they don't get better at it, and Cook has the Core Power to develop, eventually, into an exceptional Blocker. The Fumbling, I'm more concerned about. But that can usually be fixed with sufficient Time & Training. The Legal Issues are another concern, as there've been multiple Problems.
There's enough Smoke that I'm moved to back my Grade off a Click: He went to Court in 2015 for allegedly punching a Lady several times. He was found Not Guilty, but these things don't tend to get to Court without Reasonable Suspicion. Out'f Respect for the Court, I feel compelled to integrate a level of Doubt of his Innocence into my perspective.
The other matter was Animal Cruelty, for which he was cited in 2014.
I put those two things together, and my Doubt deepens. There are suggestions of Rage ~ not so bad, in my Book ~ and of Cruelty ~ far, far worse, in said Book ~ on Dalvin Cook's Resume, and those can be flat out destructive.
But there are also suggestions of other things on Dalvin Cook's Resume:
Cook watches Tape of his Rivals, with a mind towards perfecting his own Game.
And he's...uh...you might say a bit of a Perfectionist!!
Excerpt: He's watched one particularly bad Game of his about 100 times!!
Yeah, there's Risk in investing in Dalvin Cook, and I will back my Grade off accordingly, and I strongly suspect that others will, too, over the next couple of months, once those Tales of Woe get spread around a bit. There's Rage, there, and possibly Cruelty, as well, and his Path might very well lead ~ or perhaps already has ~ to Violence.
But he's young, and was even younger when those events transpired, whatever did transpire, and young men, we all know, sometimes get overcome in a bad moment by their Darkness. But young men also evolve, and leave their Darkness behind. And Dalvin Cook, it can be strongly argued, has found a very constructive way to channel his Intensity.
Given that he does not self-destruct, and given that he improves his FootBall Handling and his Blocking ~ and my Money's on a Clean Sweep ~ Dalvin Cook has exhibited Oceans of Talent, Drive, and Intelligence ~ my Trajectory Trio!! ~ and therefore has, I believe, a very strong Chance of becoming one of the greatest Players in the World.
* Update: The Market backed off on this Kid, and so have I. I don't give a Rat's Ass about his lousy Agility Numbers at The Combine: I look to those far more for Hidden Gems or for Confirmation of a lack of Agility. When the Combine Numbers diverge from The Tape unfavorably, I always go with The Tape. What I am concerned about are the borderline criminal incidents on'is Record ~ the list of which has grown longer since I originally wrote this ~ as well as the more recent disclosure of multiple Shoulder Surgeries, and his tendency to Fumble the Ball because of Bad Form.
Cook has #01 OverAll Potential, which is where I'd be grading'm, otherwise...But that's a long list of Red Flags.
Sky High Ceiling...But a very real Chance of Failure, for any number of reasons.
The Market walked'm back to the 2nd Round...and so shall I.
Good Luck, though, Kid. You're on the Right Path.
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!!