CenterFielder ~ Gerod Holliman ~ LouisVille Cardinals ~ 5115/220
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. I got the sense that he became a bit of a Statistics Whore over the course of the Season, though, as he seemed to take an increasing number of unwarranted Risks. That's a colossal No No for the alleged Last Line of Defense, and his Defense got torched a few times, probably needlessly.
Run Defense: Horrific. Historically ~ and hysterically ~ horrific. Run Defense is not the CenterFielder's Forte, true, but being the Last Line of Defense most definitely is, and Holliman missed 20 Tackles last Year. Twenty. His Field Vision is terrific, but his Combat Skills are awful, and his Tackling is the worst thing I've seen since Jaws 4 ~ The Revenge.
Pass Coverage: Competitive in Direct Coverage and Competitive as a CenterFielder. He's got enough Fluidity to compete in Direct Coverage and enough Fluidity and Acceleration to produce adequate Range in CenterField, assisted immeasurably by his outstanding Field Vision. And his CatchPoint Capacity is of course magnificent.
Talk about Jekyl & Hyde.
When someone is the target of such loud and universal Scorn as Gerod Holliman has become over the course of the Year, it gets my notice, because such circumstances sometimes produce extraordinary Opportunities, such as 2011, when Vontaze Burfict, even more dramatically than Holliman this Year, descended over the course of the Year from being universally proclaimed a 1st Rounder to going UFA ~ except in my Mock Draft, of course!! I had suspected that, as is frequently the case, there was a lot more going on than met the eye...and that turned out to be 100% True.
But with Holliman, I don't get that sense. What I perceive is a guy whose Tackling is every bit as horrible as it's reputed to be, and it turns out that In FootBall, they actually expect you to Tackle, from time to time.
Nor does his Agility inspire me to envision him marauding all over the Field, making Big Plays in Pass Coverage. His Field Vision is indeed outstanding, but even there he seems to be a Statistics Whore who takes unacceptable Risks which inexplicably increases Big Play Risk to his Defense, which is the last thing a CenterFielder is supposed to do.
He's got enough Agility to, combined with that phenomenal Processing Speed, to compete at CenterFielder, preferably in a Cover 2, and enough to Start and perchance to excel, but only if he evolves dramatically as a FootBall Player and transforms into an adequate and reliable Run Defender and sticks to taking warranted Risks.
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!!