Offensive Tackle ~ Garett Bolles ~ Utah Utes
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 Tackles:
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: Exceptional. Full Warning: I've only watched the one Game ~ thank you, Draft BreakDown, for that one!! ~ this being against the Final Four Washington Huskies. Bolles went against 333 Pound Yeti Vita Vea, among others, and acquitted himself impressively. When he got square or better, he'd usually project Power successfully, getting good Push in the Running Game, and he was also able to anchor consistently in Pass Protection against some serious Beef.
* Update: Upon Further Review: Mediocre.
Agility: Impressive. Excellent Launch Velocity out'f'is Stance. Adequate Fluidity to Mirror on Pass Protection or to change direction in the Open Field. Exceptional Speed to get to the Flanks or DownField in the Running Game.
* Update: Upon Further Review: Magnificent.
Frame: Impressive. He's the perfectly Right Height for maximum Vertical Leverage and seems to have a solid WingSpan.
* Update: Effective. Good Height, as Offensive Tackles go. Mediocre WingSpan.
Combat Skills: Impressive and with extraordinary Potential. His Command of Lateral Leverage is marginal, as it seemed that he was constantly working at a Geometrical Disadvantage, but his Paw Positioning was excellent, his Paw Persistence was phenomenal, and his FootWork was awesome. All he needs is Time & Training.
Processing Speed: Mediocre. His Speed & Efficacy both in Reading & Reacting to Defensive Deception in Pass Protection and in Locating & Approaching Targets in the Running Game is often a tick late, frequently resulting in Bad Angles and whiffs, all of which is consistent with his shaky Command of Lateral Leverage, but Bolles has only played the one Campaign at a top School, having transferred after 2 Years with the Snow College Badgers.
Motor: Sensational. Magnificent Intensity. Phenomenal Endurance.
Run Blocking: Tremendous and potentially Dominant. Bolles has Work to do, but the way he plays the Game ~ and the way that everyone in everything I've read talks about'm ~ there is not a doubt in my Mind that he will do whatever it takes to develop his Processing Speed and Field Vision to a level worthy of his Talent. And when he does, he will be both a destructive Force at The Point of Attack and a disruptive, marauding Terror, Behind Enemy Lines!!
* Update: Gonna back that off to impressive and potentially tremendous.
Mediocre at the Point of Attack.
Excellent on the Flanks and Behind Enemy Lines.
Pass Blocking: Competitive and potentially excellent. Bolles's Fluidity to Mirror was merely adequate in the Husky Game, and his Command of Lateral Leverage is marginal, which currently renders'm a Liability against Savvy Speed ~ or at least that's what I saw against Washington, with a month to go in his first Season in Utah ~ but his Paw Positioning, Paw Persistence, and FootWork are all so damned awesome that he's consistently able to keep in front'f'is Foe. And once he gets in enough Time & Training with the Coaches at Utah or at the next level, I am very confident that his Command of Lateral Leverage will improve dramatically. And he's already exceptional in Anchoring against Power.
* Update: Impressive and potentially tremendous. The WingSpan is mediocre, but he Agility is phenomenal.
Wow, what a blast it is to watch this kid play!! He is ferociously intense!!
Bolles has an intriguing BackStory. He was a classic Troubled Teen, served Time in Jail, got kicked out'f'is Home, got rescued from Life's Scrap Heap by his High School LaCrosse Coach, got Christianity, got Married...got focused!!
He's playing Catch up because of the twisted, winding Path that he took, and will be 25 next May. His Field Vision needs a lot of Work, which is of course to be expected, as does his Command of Lateral Leverage in the Trenches.
But having watched the way that he Plays FootBall and read his Story, I am highly optimistic that this Kid has all the Drive in the World, and plenty of Intelligence, and will rapidly get up to speed in every Aspect of the Game.
And if I'm right, we're talking about a Prospect with the Combat Skills to become an effective and possibly an excellent Pass Blocker...and the Power, Speed, and Motor to become a dominant and destructive Run Blocker!!
* Update: I'm actually gonna back off on Bolles a Click or two.
His Agility is phenomenal and his Drive is by all Accounts outstanding.
And I'm not worried about his youthful Criminal Past: As far as I'm concerned, that's ultimately in his Favor, because he's Battle Hardened by Life and has clearly emerged from the Experience far more focused than the average Bear.
My Demerits are for Age and for Power. Bolles has a terrific Work Ethic, and I'm very confident that the Power will improve to an adequate level with Professional Strength Guidance, but because he's 25, his Frame is more mature that most Prospects, and I therefore don't believe it's got as much Potential for Improvement as others might.
And his being 25 takes a big bit out'f his prospective Team's Return on Investment, as I see it, because I believe that, with the exception of QuarterBack, the Peak Years for a Team's Return on Investment last until the Player is 30 Years Old, meaning that they're usually looking at 8 to 10 Years of Prime Time with a 21 to 23 Year Old, whereas Bolles, who commence the 2017 Campaign at 25 Years, offers only a 6 Year Prime Time Window to his Team.
As such, I'm gonna Walk Back my original Beast Rank and 1st Round Grade a bit or two.
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!!