Lion End ~ David Onyemata ~ Manitoba Bisons
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 Lions, 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 still fails if you can't dig in your heels. But Core Power enables a Defensive Lineman to project Power in the Passing Game and to reject Power in the Running 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 stiff and lumbering out there.
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 Defense: Power, Agility, Combat Skills, and Processing Speed.
Pass Rush: Power, Agility, and Combat Skills.
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 in the Pass Rush.
* 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. Rapidly Reading & Reacting to the Offense.
* Motor ~ Intensity and Duration.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
* Combat Skills
Agility: Excellent and potentially phenomenal. The rawer the Prospect, the greater the Gap between Intrinsic Agility and Functional Agility, and Onyemata is Case in Point: His Acceleration is moderate, but his Intrinsic Launch Velocity and Fluidity are tremendous, and if he can learn to channel them consistently and effectively, he'll be a NightMare.
Combat Skills: Competitive, but with excellent Potential. Mediocre Mechanics, but tremendous Intensity. Good WingSpan.
Intangibles: Excellent. Never played American FootBall ~ only European FootBall, otherwise known as "Soccer" ~ until 4 Years ago, yet has rapidly advanced to a level of Competent Field Vision, despite spotting most'f'is Competition a full Decade or so. That speaks Volumes about his Intelligence and Drive, and his Motor, too, is impressive.
Run Defense: He's raw, but there is tremendous Potential, at 3 Tech in an Even Front, or at 5 Tech in an Odd Front, of his developing into an effectively stout Point of Attack Defender and into an highly disruptive Penetrator.
Pass Rush: Intriguing Potential, more so as a 3 Tech in an Even Front than as a 5 in an Odd, due to extraordinary Intrinsic Agility potentially translating into a tremendous capacity to leverage Power and Fluidity to squirt through Gaps.
That speaks not overwhelmingly but nevertheless emphatically to both his Intelligence and to'is Motor, and to such extent as I feel I'm able to get a feel for such ephemeral, ethereal things, my Grades are dramatically affected.
David Onyemata hits the Sweet Spot: He's exhibited tremendous Intrinsic Power and Intrinsic Fluidity at his Pro Day, he's flashed enough of these raw Talents on Tape to suggest that they're real, and he's almost certainly not only busted his Ass over the last 4 Years, but been blessed with the Intelligence to allow'm to find the means of applying what he's learned effectively, based on the Improvement of his Combat Skills and Field Vision over the last 4 Years.
In other Words: A still rather raw but highly talented Power & Agility Prospect who has exhibited both the Intelligence to improve and develop his Game in all regards and the sustained Drive to do so.
"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."
I believe that David Onyemata's Potential is that of an Odd Front 5 Tech Defensive End & Even Front Wolf Tackle 3 Tech Hybrid with an extraordinary Fusion of Power & Fluidity who develops into an impressive and potentially tremendous Defender, both against The Run and as a Pass Rusher...and despite the generally Long Odds of such such raw, developmental Prospects as Onyemata...man, I really like his Chances of delivering on that Talent!!
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!!