MidFielder ~ Jake Ryan ~ Michigan Wolverines 6024/240
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 still fails if you can't dig in your heels. But Core Power enables a Defensive Lineman to project Power in the Passing Game and to reject Power in the Running 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 Defense: Power, Agility, Combat Skills, Navigating Traffic, Processing Speed, Motor, and Tackling.
Pass Coverage: Agility, Processing Speed, and Catch Point Capacity.
Pass Rush: Power, Agility, and Combat Skills.
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 in the Pass Rush.
* Fluidity, above all things: Core Agility & Flexibility makes everything possible.
* Launch Velocity ~ Speed into Contact off the Snap.
* Acceleration ~ Short Speed or Quickness.
* Verticity ~ The Ability ~ or lack thereof ~ to Flips Hips and Turn & Burn in Pass Coverage.
* Paw Power ~ The Power & Speed of the initial Punch.
* Paw Velocity ~ How active the Hands are.
* Paw Positioning ~ It's all about Angles & Leverage.
* Frame ~ Above all: WingSpan.
* Processing Speed ~ Field Vision. Rapidly Reading & Reacting to the Offense.
* Motor ~ Intensity and Duration.
* Combat Skills
* Navigating Traffic
* Processing Speed
* Processing Speed
* Catch Point Capacity
* Combat Skills
Agility: Competitive. Impressive Acceleration, but Mediocre Fluidity. Moderate Range.
Combat Skills: Competitive but with Exceptional Potential. Mediocre Mechanics but outstanding Paw Persistence and Paw Frequency. As his Command of the Tactical LandScape improves, so, too, I believe, will his Mechanics.
Intangibles: Excellent and potentially Awesome. The Field Vision that Ryan exhibited in 2014 was mediocre, but that is in itself rather Impressive, as it was his first Year at Mike MidFielder. Furthermore, his Processing Speed appeared to improve considerably over the course of the Campaign. He is a fanatical Studier of Tape, a level of Drive and Dedication that also manifests itself with a Tremendous Motor on the Field of Battle, and I have no doubt that, whatever his fundamental Processing Speed may be, his Processing Speed In Battle will become outstanding.
Run Defense: Competitive at both The Point of Attack and In Pursuit and potentially Exceptional. His only real Liability is his mediocre Fluidity, which impacts his ability to Navigate Traffic and to rapidly redirect towards the Play, but his Motor compensates nicely for this, as does his Acceleration, and I expect he'll become far better before long.
Pass Coverage: Competitive. He's actually very effective in Press Coverage, but if he's going to be asked to drop into Zone most'f the time, his Fluidity is going to be a problem, though I anticipate that greatly improved Field Vision will help.
Pass Rush: Exceptional and potentially Outstanding. Ryan's impressive Launch Velocity and Acceleration are an obvious Advantage, here, and if his Combat Skills and Field Vision improve measurably, as I fully expect they will, he could very possibly develop into an effective, even a dynamic Weapon in the Pass Rush...And I believe he'll do just that.
A Prospect particularly attracts my Attention when I suspect that his Value might be appreciably underrated by The Market, and Ryan is precisely such a case: He was asked to switch from Sam MidFielder to Mike MidFielder last Year, and it appears that his Field Vision suffered a temporary setback, one that appears to've hurt his Market Value.
If that's the Story, then I believe that Ryan's Odyssey has produced a Buy Low Opportunity. In Rolling The Tape, I believe that it became evident that Ryan's Processing Speed improved considerably over the course of the 2014 Campaign. And as things slowed down for'm, his Game, as is always the case, become increasingly more Instinctive, with the natural Consequences being far better Functional Power and Functional Agility than he'd previously displayed.
I, for one, am very impressed with this kid. He has earned a Reputation for being a Tape Studying Maniac. The Field Vision that he was manifesting by the end of the Year was already Impressive, which suggests not only an impressive current level of Processing Speed, but also a Rate of Improvement, coupled with a plainly evident willingness ~ indeed: an Obsession ~ to learn whatever he can learn to improve his Field Vision and Processing Speed, that fills me with Confidence that he will eventually attain outstanding Field Vision and Processing Speed...and very quickly.
And I wold apply all of that to his Combat Skills, as well. Ryan is a Ferocious Fighter as it is, and while I graded his Mechanics as Mediocre, I cannot help but speculate that what I was seeing was simply another Manifestation of his switch to a new Position last Year, and all the Changes in Perspective and Responsibility that that entailed, to say nothing of the additional Responsibilities of becoming the Defense's Field General. I strongly suspect that an additional Year at the Position would've produced a considerable Improvement in his Mechanics. In any case: Ryan is clearly the kind of Prospect who takes considerable Pride in all Aspects of his Work, so I expect that, with Time and Training at the Professional level, his Mechanics will become as excellent as his already remarkable Hand Speed.
He is not remarkably Talented, but he is remarkably Versatile. I can see Ryan playing any of the 3 Gigs in a 43 Defense, but I think he'd probably be least optimally deployed at Will MidFielder, due to what I consider to be mediocre Coverage Skills, but he has the Brains, the Beef, and especially the Launch Velocity and Acceleration to excel as a Mike MidFielder.
He could play Sam MidFielder effectively in a 43, as well, I believe, or Ted MidFielder in a 34, but would be best deployed, in a 43, a 34, a 25, or anything at all, as the Mike MidFielder ~ as the Defense's Field General.
No, he is not oozing with Talent, and if I swing and miss on this one, it'll be because his Fluidity is more of an hindrance to'm than I'm anticipating, but it seems to me that even that is going to improve as he puts his 2013 ACL Injury two full Years in the RearView. And in any case, he's got Power and Agility enough, combined with remarkable and rapidly improving Processing Speed, which of course connotes plenty of Intelligence, and oodles of Drive...
"Trajectory > A mercurial Formula that blends Talent, Speed of Improvement, and the Probability of continuing that Speed of Improvement, based on perceived Intelligence, Passion, and Work Ethic: Talent x Intelligence x Drive."
I presume nothing, but I love this kid Jake Ryan, because I believe that he's got an enormous Passion for this Great Game, I believe that he is Obsessed With The Pursuit of Excellence, and I believe that he's going to squeeze every last ounce of Ability out of himself and his TeamMates, and that they and his Coaches are going to love him for it!!
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!!