Bear Tackle ~ Dalvin Tomlinson ~ Alabama Crimson Tide ~ 6027/312
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:
Grizzlies ~ This is my terminology for the larger, beefier Defensive Tackles, many of whom often see a lot of Snaps at Nose Tackle. Unlike Gorillas, they're not lengthy enough or fast enough for the classic Defensive End gig to be an optimal Deployment, but nowadays can be lined up anywhere. The Prototype'd be about 6015/325 or so.
Of course, where and how any given Coach chooses to deploy his Players is his Business. Players that I characterize as Grizzlies 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 Grizzlies, 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: Tremendous. Outstanding Torso Power and remarkable Core Power.
Agility: Mediocre. Deficient Launch Velocity and sluggish Acceleration, but tremendous Fluidity.
Frame: He's what even I would call a Tweener, as his Height/Weight Combo lies close to the 3 Way Intersection of Grizzly Tackle, Lion End, and Yeti, but he leans towards Grizzly, I think, and in that regard his Frame is sufficient.
Combat Skills: Exceptional and with tremendous Potential. You gotta love that intensive and comprehensive Crimson Tide Coaching and the Recruits motivated enough to embrace it. I'd actually give Tomlinson a Split Grade on this, as his Pass Rushing Repertoire is marginal, but his Paw Positioning, Paw Persistence, Lateral Leverage, and FootWork are all excellent or better, and it seems very likely that with Time & Training, he'll develop that Repertoire.
Processing Speed: Tremendous. It was truly exciting to watch such consistent physical and mental Energy emitting from a Player consistently toiling in The Trenches. Tomlinson was constantly checking the BackField, while engaged in Battle, consistently reacting with terrific Speed and Precision to Blocking Schemes and Offensive HornSwoggling.
Motor: Excellent. Perhaps an Asterisk is called for, as Tomlinson was of course part of a phenomenally deep Rotation at Alabama, never playing more than half the Snaps. Having said that: Terrific Intensity and Endurance.
Run Defense: Exceptional. Tremendous Power and excellent Combat Skills render'm an outstanding Force at the Point of Attack. In Pursuit, though: Marginal. His Acceleration really puts a damper on'is Range.
Pass Rush: Marginal, yet with exceptional Potential. His lack of Acceleration will always constrain his Sack Totals, I believe, but he's got a very intriguing combination: tremendous Power and Fluidity. All he really needs is to develop his Pass Rushing Repertoire to become a genuinely disruptive Force, and his basic Combat Skills are there.
Crimson Tide Prospects can easily get overrated, but I believe we have a very interesting exception, here.
Based on his current Game, we're looking, I believe, at a stout Run Defender at The Point of Attack, but one with very little Range, and whose deficient Pass Rushing Repertoire render'm a Liability against the Pass.
Yet his excellent basic Combat Skills, combined with tremendous Field Vision and an excellent Motor strongly suggest that Tomlinson possesses tons of the Drive and Intelligence that I preach about in my Trajectory Formula:
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.
His current Game tells me: Contender. 4th/5th Round Grade.
But I am very high on his Chances of Success ~ of developing the Pass Rushing Repertoire that'll enable'm to develop into a Pass Rushing Force. I don't see'm racking up Sacks, but I really like his Chances of developing into a Rusher that'll consistently rack up Hurries & Hits. Pressure = Production, to shamelessly improve on Joshua Norris's term!!
In other Words: I see his Potential as that of an Impact Player in both Running Defense and in Passing Defense...and I see his Chances of attaining his Potential to be high: Good Ceiling, High Floor, as you Earthlings might put it!!
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!!