CenterFielder ~ Derron Smith ~ Fresno State BullDogs ~ 5100/200
CenterFielders ~ This is my term for "Free Safeties", as I find the application of the term "Safety" ~ a limp, lame term, to put it kindly ~ to be an Asinine Appellation for a Gladiator. The Prototype would be about 6000/200 or so.
CenterFielders are indeed the Last Line of Defense. But I sense that with the increasing Hybridization of Skill Sets in the Years to come, it will be advantageous for Teams to seek CenterFielders who can not only act as a Reserve Defender in Support of their CornerBacks, but who can ~ at a moment's notice, if need be ~ flip into Direct Coverage.
As such, I have discovered a natural Synergy between the Skill Sets of CenterFielders...and NickleBacks.
CenterFielders, like RoverBacks and Gryphons, are Hybrids, tasked both with Pass Coverage and Run Defense. Unlike Rovers and Gryphons, however, CenterFielders are expected to prioritize Pass Defense. As such, I'll be breaking my Evaluations down along the same lines as with the others, but with a decidedly divergent Emphasis:
Agility: Acceleration, Ricochet, Fluidity, and Verticity ~ that's Turn & Burn Acuity, to you Earthlings!!
Processing Speed: How quickly and effectively one Reads & Reacts to the developing Play.
Run Defense: Power, Agility, Combat Skills, and Processing Speed.
Pass Coverage: Agility and Processing Speed.
Broken down into SubCategories, it'd go something like this:
* Fluidity, above all things: Core Agility & Flexibility makes everything possible.
* Ricochet ~ How crisply and how rapidly one breaks in a new direction.
* Acceleration ~ Short Speed or Quickness. Closing Speed.
* Verticity ~ The Ability ~ or lack thereof ~ to Flips Hips and Turn & Burn in Pass Coverage.
* How quickly and effectively one Reads & Reacts to the developing Play.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
* Processing Speed
Processing Speed: Tremendous, but I should note that he was far less impressive on the more recent 2014 Tape. But I'm grading'm on 2013 Tape, because that's what my Gut's telling me to do. Smith is an intensely passionate Player and a Team Captain playing for a Team suffering a crushingly disappointing Year after a brilliant 2013 Campaign. I got the distinct Impression that he didn't so much forget how to play FootBall as play with Desperation.
Run Defense: Impressive. Moderate Power and Acceleration, but impressive Combat Skills and excellent Field Vision.
Pass Coverage: Exceptional. His moderate Acceleration limits his Range, but his tremendous Processing Speed, when he's playing within himself, that is, augments that considerably and also dramatically enhances his outstanding CatchPoint Capacity. He's Impressive in Direct Coverage, as well, though limited by his Speed.
I strongly suspect that Derron Smith's evidently inconsistent Field Vision in 2014 was less Mental than Psychological: The BullDogs suffered an horribly disappointing Campaign and I suspect that Smith, like a generally wise and disciplined Batter whose team isn't scoring and who consequently swings at a lot of Balls, was trying to Do It All.
Hey, kids do foolish things. And least he didn't rob a Candy Store.
And he is by all Accounts a very smart and obsessively intense Student of the Game and relentless Worker ~ he was a two time Team Captain, mind you ~ so I have no doubt that he'll learn that he can't Do It All, and will apply that Lesson.
That Notion is of course even further Off The Grid than even I usually sail, thus rendering this Scouting Report even more speculative than mine usually are, so of course you can see why I thought it fair to warn you!!
Smith's elite Field Vision is not matched by elite Speed, therefore I don't consider him an elite Prospect, but I sure as Hell consider'm an exceptional Prospect, one with a good Chance of earning Starter's Snaps. I'm thinking that he would be optimally deployed in a Cover 2, where his moderate Acceleration would have less of an Impact than in a Cover 3.
His Verticity in Direct Coverage is excellent, and while his lack of exceptional Acceleration limits him here as well, he can certainly compete against most WideOuts, HalfBacks, and Flex Ends, especially in Press Coverage.
And his Timing & Trajectory are extraordinary at The CatchPoin.
I believe that Smith's Prospects are far better than what the 2014 Tape showed.
And I believe that that creates an intriguing Opportunity, here.
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!!