MidFielder ~ Haason Reddick ~ Temple Owls
Old Roles are getting dramatically transformed, and virtually every Front 7 ~ or Front 6!! ~ Defensive Job Description is transitioning into an Hybrid Role where the Defender is asked to excel in multiple Roles and in multiple Fronts.
For that reason, and in order to offer NomenClature that speaks not to archaic, obsolete "Positions", but rather to Skill Sets that accurately reflect the dynamic Changes of the 21st Century Game and the Roles they have spawned, I have undertaken to craft Terminology that is designed to break Skill Sets down as they really are.
Defensive Coordinators have, since Time Immemorial, employed highly creative terminology in devising Defenses and in designating Assignments. In that Spirit, I have admittedly indulged myself considerably in devising the following NomenClature. It is undeniably colorful, but I like to think that there's an underlying Logic, as well:
MidFielders ~ This is in fact my collective term for all of what you Earthlings refer to as "LineBackers", a term that I consider moderately insulting to the Players in question. The reason I'm employing a collective term ~ at least for now ~ is that I believe that the Skill Sets for any of the 3 or 4 Jobs indicated therein are remarkably similar, though their Duties are certainly considerably divergent. The Prototype for any MidFielder would be about 6000/240 or thereabouts.
I don't consider Dragons that play what you Earthlings refer to as "OutSide LineBacker" in a 34 Defense to be MidFielders.
Dragons have a particular Skill Set and natural strengths which are divergent to those of MidFielders.
MidFielders, whether in a 434, a 335, a 425, a 245, or whatever you come up with, are natural Super Hybrids who can quite conceivably Rush the Passer, Drop into Coverage, and, above all, Defend against the Run.
When evaluating MidFielders, this is how I break things down:
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. Above all: Pass Rush Repertoire.
Processing Speed: How quickly and effectively one Reads & Reacts to the Rapidly Roiling Tactical LandScape!!
Motor: Intensity and Stamina: How much Work has been put into Conditioning, and how it manifests itself.
Run Defense: All the Above, applied.
Pass Coverage: Ditto.
Pass Rush: Double Dirty Dog Ditto.
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 against the Run.
* Drive Power, Rushing the Passer.
* 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.
* Pass Rush Repertoire: Variety.
* Reading & Reacting to Offensive Blocking Schemes with Speed & Precision.
* Field Vision: Finding Targets & approaching them effectively.
Power: Exceptional. Reddick, a 185 Pounder Defensive Back Walk On at Temple, was inexplicably deployed at Defensive End and lived to tell about it, so I'm employing more than my usual high level of Extrapolation, here. Certainly his Power would be marginal as a Defensive End, but at the Second Level of Defense, that's a far different Story.
Agility: Sensational.That doesn't feel adequate, but it's all I got. Blistering Launch Velocity. Serpentine Fluidity. Phenomenal Acceleration and Closing Speed. Reddick would still make a fine Defensive Back, even 50 Pounds later!!
Frame: Tremendous. Maybe a Tick Taller than optimal for Vertical Leverage, but an outstanding WingSpan.
Combat Skills: Impressive. Competitive Paw Positioning and Lateral Leverage. Impressive FootWork. Phenomenal Paw Persistence. Competitive Pass Rushing Repertoire. In other Words: He's Raw but Motivated.
Processing Speed: Extraordinary. Reddick was deployed at Defensive End for virtually his entire College Career, yet, because he clearly needs to convert to MidFielder, was deployed there in Senior Bowl Practice, and the Processing Speed that he displayed there was by all Accounts astonishing for somebody with virtually no Experience at all. I've read his Processing Speed being described, essentially, as mediocre at a Site that I greatly respect, but that Grade fails to sufficiently account for his Intrinsic Processing Speed: Somebody who almost instantaneously attains a level of Competence and then quickly improves as Reddick did is blessed with blistering Processing Speed.
Motor: Tremendous, both on and off the Field. Outstanding Intensity and Stamina.
Run Defense: Excellent and potentially sensational. Reddick's got the WingSpan, the Power, and the Fluidity to hack'is way through Traffic, and the Acceleration and Closing Speed to cast a sprawling Net over an enormous swath of the BattleField. All he needs is the Time & Training to develop his Combat Skills and master his new Role.
Pass Coverage: Please see Above. Excellent and potentially sensational. Fluidity, Speed, and the fundamental capacity to Read & React with blistering Speed & Precision once he gets enough Time & Training.
Pass Rush: Once More and With Feeling: Excellent and potentially sensational. The Fluidity to slip and slide through Gaps, the Speed to blast through'm, and the Power & WingSpan to annihilate HalfBacks. He needs to continue to develop his Pass Rushing Repertoire, both in terms of Moves and Synchronization, but his Potential here is magnificent.
Ohhhh, how I wish I'd been fully engaged, back then!!
Anyway, I'll make this simple: Haason Reddick, despite having had to Walk On at Division 47 Temple, and therefore lacking College Pedigree of much Import and therefore of course ostensibly bringing concerns about the Level Of Play he competed against, is a magnificent Prospect. He is so outrageously talented that he has the Potential to become a gigantic Force in Run Defense, Pass Coverage, and the Pass Rush. And the astonishing Speed with which he successfully acclimated to playing MidFielder during Senior Bowl Week can only be the result of a combination of Intelligence and Drive that is elite. He is an extremely strong Bet to become all that he can be.
Haason Reddick? High Ceiling? Hell, yeah. But High Floor, as well.
Haason Reddick? Potential SuperStar.
Pay the Man.
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!