Offensive Tackle ~ Jack Conklin ~ Michigan State Spartans ~ 6056/308
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 stiff and lumbering out there.
Combat Skills: Paw Power, Mechanics ~ Hand Speed & Positioning ~ and of course: Frame.
Intangibles: Processing Speed and Motor. Processing Speed or Diagnostic Velocity is about how quickly and effectively one Reads & Reacts to how the Rapidly Roiling Tactical LandScape effects Blocking Schemes, and Motor is about Endurance and Drive: How much Work has been put into Conditioning, and how it manifests itself.
Run Blocking: Power, Agility, Combat Skills, Processing Speed, and Motor.
Pass Blocking: Power, Agility, 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.
* Frame ~ Arms, Hands, and above all: WingSpan.
* Field Vision ~ Reacting to the Tactical LandScape: It's all about Angles & Leverage.
* Paw Positioning ~ It's all about Angles & Leverage.
* Paw Persistence ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* FootWork ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* Processing Speed ~ Field Vision. Reading Defensive Schemes quickly and effectively, and finding 2nd Level Targets.
* Motor ~ Intensity and Duration.
* Power ~ Drive Power to project Power in the Running Game.
* Agility ~ especially Acceleration DownField or to the Flank.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
* Power ~ Anchoring Strength to reject Power in the Passing Game.
* Agility ~ especially Fluidity to Mirror the Pass Rusher.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
Agility: Mediocre Launch Velocity, Acceleration, and Fluidity.
Combat Skills: Tremendous. Great Arms. Awesome Hands. Excellent WingSpan. Tremendous Mechanics.
Intangibles: Extraordinary. Tremendous Field Vision. Phenomenal Motor.
Run Blocking: I don't believe that Conklin would stand out in a Zone Blocking Scheme, but in a Power Blocking Scheme, he has the Power, the Combat Skills, and the sheer, utter Relentlessness to dominate.
Pass Blocking: Here, I believe he'll have some Problems with Speed and Agility. However, he's got the WingSpan to compensate for a lot of them, and both the Combat Skills and Motor to put it to effective use.
Whereas Ronnie Stanley produced horrible Numbers in those Categories at the Combine, which didn't stop me from lauding his Agility, Jack Conklin produced tremendous Numbers, yet here I am challenging his Agility.
Just an amusing Side Note.
I see Jack Conklin as a Prospect who's persistent Ferocity has perhaps produced Tape so impressive that it has rendered the general perception of his intrinsic Talents higher than perhaps they truly are.
Mind you: In The Trenches, Attitude goes a very long way, indeed, at the professional level as well as College.
And nobody would be more surprised than I if Jack Conklin didn't forge an excellent Career.
But as I see it, he combines good, not great Power with mediocre Agility.
And that is just not 1st Round stuff, as I see it.
Even so, I do believe that Jack Conklin will play far and away above his natural Ability, due to a ravenous Work Ethic, a relentless Motor, tremendous Intelligence ~ honed to a fine edge by that same Work Ethic ~ and outstanding Combat Skills, enhanced as well by Years of hard Work and enhanced, too, by that excellent WingSpan.
I believe that he'd fit best as a Right Tackle, not a Left Tackle, to be certain, and optimally in a Power Blocking Scheme.
But in any case I believe that he's a strong bet to forge a long successful Career, and even though I believe that his Stock has gotten a bit carried away ~ Supply & Demand at Offensive Tackle, no doubt ~ I for one will be rooting for'm.
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!!