Offensive Guard ~ Dorian Johnson ~ PittsBurgh Panthers ~ 6050/300
The Gutters are riddled with the Corpses of Teams that were built around so-called "skill" Players ~ teams that delighted their Fantasy FootBall Fans every Year, all the way until January...until The Only Games That Really Matter.
It is then, of course, that the Capacity ~ or lack thereof ~ to Move The Chains and protect the QuarterBack against PlayOff Caliber Defenses rears its ugly head. And another Team built for Fantasy FootBall bites the dust.
This is how I break things down, when I'm evaluating Offensive Guards:
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.
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 Blocking: Applying it all: Power, Agility, Frame, Combat Skills, Processing Speed, and Motor.
Pass Blocking: Power, Agility, Frame, Combat Skills, Processing Speed, and Motor.
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 in the Passing Game. The capacity to Stand One's Ground.
* Drive Power in the Running Game. The capacity to drive your man back.
* 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.
* Reading & Reacting to Defensive Schemes & Stunts quickly and effectively.
* Field Vision: Finding Targets & approaching them effectively.
* Power ~ Drive Power to project Power in the Running Game.
* Agility ~ especially Acceleration DownField or to the Flank.
* Frame ~ especially Vertical Leverage.
* Combat Skills.
* Processing Speed.
* Power ~ Anchoring Strength to reject Power in the Passing Game.
* Agility ~ especially Fluidity to Mirror the Pass Rusher.
* Frame ~ especially WingSpan.
* Combat Skills.
* Processing Speed.
Power: Competitive. Excellent Torso Power, but mediocre Core Power, further hampered by marginal Fluidity, which inhibits his ability to bring what Power he does possess to bear on the Field of Battle.
* Update: Effective. And Upon Further Review, I say that his Core Power is every bit as good as his Torso Power.
Agility: Mediocre. Impressive Launch Velocity into'is Set in Pass Protection and his Surge in the Running Game, and effective Acceleration to the Flanks or to the Second Level in the Running Game, but his Core Agility ~ his Fluidity to Mirror in Pass Protection or to change direction in the Open Field in the Running Game ~ is marginal. In Pass Protection, Johnson routinely ends ups standing straight up, and in the Open Field he had a number of Whiffs.
* Update: Competitive. I'm upgrading my overall Grade, here, because I'm upgrading his Fluidity to Mediocre.
Frame: Excellent. He is the Right Height to exert maximum Vertical Leverage, and appears to have an excellent WingSpan.
* Update: Phenomenal. Did I say that he appeared to have an excellent WingSpan? It is magnificent.
Combat Skills: Tremendous. First off, Johnson routinely exhibits an outstanding Command of Lateral Leverage, consistently getting Square or better with his Foes. His Paw Positioning is good, not great: Impressive. He generally gets his Paws positioned solidly and centered, with only an occasional slip to the edge of the Frame.
What's most impressive about his Combat Skills, though, is his excellent Paw Persistence and his phenomenal FootWork. Johnson consistently engages all the way through the Block, and while his marginal Fluidity is, as mentioned above, a large Liability, his rapid and furious FootWork goes a long, long way towards compensating for that: He shifts and repeatedly and incrementally Resets throughout the Block and thus often enables himself, despite marginal Fluidity and only moderate Core Power, to keep Square or better with his Foes far more often than he otherwise could.
* Update: I'm actually gonna walk this back to Exceptional. His Paw Persistence isn't as consistent as I initially thought.
Processing Speed: Outstanding, and greatly improved from 2015 to the one Game I've watched from 2016. Tremendous Speed and Efficacy in reading and reacting to Defensive Schemes and Stunts in Pass Protection.
Likewise, although his deficient Fluidity compromises his ability to bring it to bear, he exhibits consistently outstanding Field Vision in the Running Game, routinely taking the right Path and Speed to his Target.
* Update: Outstanding. No Change!!
Motor: Awesome. Great Effort. Consistently. Persistently. Always Seeking Work. Great Conditioning. 60 Minutes, every time.
* Update: No Change. Awesome!!
Run Blocking: Competitive. I'm thinking that Johnson would be best suited for a Power Scheme Team, as his deficient Fluidity would be more'f a Liability in Zone, where he'd need to change directions more often.
Within that context, he's got enough Power to compete. I don't believe that I saw'm PanCake a single Defender, but he usually got at least a little movement with his Surge and never got thrown back into'is HalfBack's lap.
In Space, his Fluidity inhibits his ability to quickly change directions, but he at least gets where he's going quickly enough, either to the Flanks or to the Second Level. Furthermore, he's become extremely effective at rapidly reading the Tactical LandScape and planning his Approach to'is Target, and his Combat Skills when he gets there are exceptional.
* Update: Exceptional. Effective Power at The Point of Attack, and, despite mediocre Fluidity, Johnson's extraordinary Motor, Field Vision, and FootWork combination enable'm to cover a lot of Ground and very, very effectively.
Pass Blocking: Mediocre. I mean that as a Compliment, actually, as Marginal Fluidity usually translates to marginal Pass Blocking, in my Book. And I believe that Johnson will have Problems with Speed and Agility in general.
But his absolutely outstanding Motor, his phenomenal FootWork, his excellent WingSpan, and his Combat Skills in general should go a long way in reducing what would otherwise be a possibly fatal Liability.
* Update: Impressive. Mediocre Fluidity, but exceptional Core Power, a magnificent WingSpan, and outstanding FootWork.
I'm gonna start off by saying that I may very well change my Evaluation of Dorian Johnson once Draft BreakDown puts out a few more Game Tapes from 2016. As it is, I've watched 3 Games from 2015 and just the one from 2016 ~ where the Panthers narrowly defeated the Penn State Nittany Lions, thus costing the Lions a PlayOff spot!!
Pro FootBall Focus gave Johnson their highest Rating of all the 2017 Draft Class Offensive Guards in 2014, yet he fell, in their eyes, all the way to #30 in 2015, which suggests to me that he was hobbled by an undisclosed Injury.
That, in turn, suggests to me that his 2016 Tape will provide a more accurate Exhibition of his Potential than the previous Year's Games. Of course I place far more emphasis on recent Tape, anyway, with an eye on Improvement.
Dorian Johnson intrigues me. Based upon physical Skill Set alone, his marginal Fluidity, in and of itself an enormous Red Flag Liability, and which also hampers his merely moderate Power, I'd give'm an Auxiliary Grade: 6th/7th Round.
But, as I am fond of saying, Motor goes a long way in all Aspects of FootBall, but especially in Trench Warfare. And Dorian Johnson's Game Tape shows unmistakable Evidence that this Kid is ferociously intense.
Not only that, but that relentless Motor, combined with Top Shelf Combat Skills and Processing Speed that can only be the Product of Years of Dedication, testify to extremely elevated levels of both Intelligence and Drive...
Or, as you Earthlings would say: I don't know how high his Ceiling is, yet, as I want to see a few more Game Tapes from later on in the Campaign before I write up my final Scouting Report, in April ~ Tony Pauline called'm a potential 1st Rounder after that Penn State Game ~ but I know precisely how high his Floor is: Sky High, Brothers!!
Update: Funny thing is: Johnson ended up getting drafted precisely where The Market was calling for'm to get drafted when I wrote this back in December and exactly where I was grading'm at the time ~ in the 4th Round, to be exact ~ but having dug deeper, as promised, I'm gonna be changing my Rank and Grade on Dorian Johnson considerably.
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!!