Panthers ~ 6015/285
Do you agree? I hope so, and propose to break them down into 2 simple Categories, so we know what we're taking about:
Grizzlies ~ Enormous and Powerful Defensive Tackles noted for taking up Multiple Blockers and dominating the Middle.
Wolves ~ Smaller and Athletic Defensive Tackles noted for penetrating the BackField and for their Range.
When evaluating all Defensive Tackles, these are the Attributes to which I pay most particular attention:
Power. Above all: Core Power. Upper body Strength 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 Lineman to project Power in the Running Game and to reject Power in the Passing Game. And those Players who invest the time and effort to develop superior Core Power are far likelier to enjoy sustained good Health and stay on the Field.
Agility. Lateral 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. Mechanics. Launch Velocity, Paw Power, and Technique.
Intangibles. Diagnostic Capacity, Processing Speed, and Motor. How effectively he masters Spatial Diagnostics & Angles, how rapidly he recognizes and implements Blocking Schemes based on changing Defensive Tactics, and of course: Drive. How badly he wants it. These are of course difficult things to assess, but it's crucial to at least try to.
Agility. Preposterous. Absofreakinglutely preposterous. Easley is terrifyingly explosive off the Snap, and blessed with an utterly freakish level of Fluidity. When he's healthy, he is perhaps the most disruptive Tackle in this entire Class.
Combat Skills. Sensational. Furiously active Hands, excellent Technique, and superior Paw Power.
Intangibles. Outstanding. Sharp Field Vision, a strong understanding of the Tactical LandScape, and a raging Motor. Easley's a passionate and relentlessly enthusiastic Player who energizes the entire Huddle ~ a Coach's Dream.
He's just preposterously disruptive. His combination of Launch Velocity, Combat Tactics, Fluidity, and what most people would consider shocking Power allow him to rain Chaos and Destruction wherever he goes.
And he is far, far Stouter than many are willing to believe. Core Power is far more crucial than simply being huge.
The Game, as I once scribbled, is constantly changing, and Defenses are being compelled to get smaller and faster.
Will Sutton, who I wrote up yesterday, Aaron Donald, who I wrote up the day before, and Dominique Easley are at the very crest of the New Wave of Defensive Tackles, and those who recognize their potentially chaotic Impact on Offensive BackFields and seize their services will reap an enormous Strategic Advantage.
Easley is of course recovering from his second ACL Injury, which will both impact his Impact ~ because he probably won't recover his full explosiveness until 2015 ~ and his Risk/Reward Ratio. Otherwise, I'd go Top 10 with this guy.
Thanks, as always, to the extraordinary Work by the men of Draft BreakDown!!
Consensus Market Value