PowerBack ~ James Conner ~ PittsBurgh Panthers ~ 6012/234
I've come to believe that any HalfBack that doesn't bring a Passing Game element to the BattleField is...incomplete.
Hence, the term "FlexBack" ~ although quite cool, I believe!! ~ short-circuits the Evaluation Process.
As to how I break them down, I expect that the terms are pretty self-explanatory:
PowerBacks ~ HalfBacks who do their best Work between the Tackles..
SpeedBacks ~ HalfBacks who do their best Work outside the Tackles.
The PowerBack prototype would be about 5115/220 or so.
The SpeedBack prototype would be about 5010/200 or so.
Those are gross oversimplifications, of course, and many HalfBacks will manifest Attributes of both styles. Indeed, Power and Speed ~ better yet: Agility ~ are crucial to the Success of either kind of HalfBack. But I believe that it advances the discussion and better serves my Fellow FootBall Fanatics if I make an effort to distinguish between types.
This is how I break things down, when evaluating all HalfBacks:
Power: Above all: Core Power. Upper body Power is important, but lower body Power, from the Knees to the Ribs, is absolutely crucial. An HalfBack's Capacity to break Tackles is more about Core Power than anything else.
Agility: Launch Velocity, Fluidity, Acceleration, and Ricochet. Long Speed is all well and good, but at the end of the day, it is Gravy. What wins Championships is Moving The Chains. And Moving The Chains is accomplished far more consistently by the guys who exhibit the Agility ~ and the Focus ~ to consistently pick up 5 and sometimes 10 Yards at a time.
Processing Speed: Diagnostic Velocity. Field Vision. That ethereal Capacity to Rapidly Read & React to the Rapidly Roiling & Boiling Tactical LandScape...and to foresee and envision Lanes developing before they actually do.
Blocking: Having an HalfBack who doesn't Block effectively is like having 10 Men on the Field of Battle. Most HalfBacks just coming out'f College are mediocre Blockers, but this is a crucial Aspect of the Game that they'll need to master.
Receiving: Whether he be a PowerBack or a SpeedBack, an HalfBack that can effectively present a genuine Threat in the Passing Game dramatically increases his Team's Options on any given Play. The more dynamic the Threat, the more valuable to'is Team on the Field of Battle, whether he's just slipping out'f the BackField or splitting out Wide.
Broken down into SubCategories, it'd go something like this:
* Core Power is most of it. Tyrannosaurus Rex would've made an Hell of an HalfBack.
* Torso Power doesn't hurt, though.
* Launch Velocity
* Long Speed
* That ethereal Capacity to foresee and envision Lanes developing before they actually do.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
* Catch Point Capacity
Power: Awesome. Absolutely demolishing. Please note: Most of which follows is based on 2014 Tape.
Agility: Marginal. Effective Acceleration to the Hole, but marginal Speed, Fluidity, and Ricochet.
Field Vision: Impressive, both in Synchronizing his Timing with his Linemen and in Reading Traffic.
Blocking: Mediocre. Pretty useless on 2014 Tape, but improved in 2016. Decent Motor. Terrific Power. Poor Combat Skills.
Receiving: Exceptional. Conner is new to the Passing Game, frankly, having only just gotten worked into it in 2016, but he looked very natural, out there, exhibiting impressive Timing, excellent Hands, and of course awesome Power after the Catch. His Route Running Repertoire is limited by his Agility, but he's a legitimate Weapon, there.
Bonus Round: Heart of a freaking Lion. Conner's triumphant Conquest of Cancer is well known, of course. By all Accounts a tremendous TeamMate with a fanatical Work Ethic, and an inspirational Leader who heaps Praise on'is Mates.
The Exception to that of course as regards his Receiving Game, which was previously nonexistent!!
I don't foresee James Conner's Game translating very effectively to the next level, much as I'd love to say otherwise ~ not as an HalfBack, anyway. His Power is awesome, and his Field Vision is impressive, but even Between the Tackles, his marginal Fluidity and Ricochet are gonna hinder his capacity to consistently Move The Chains, I fear.
Oh, there is definitely room in the League for James Conner. Drive and Intelligence, as I am oh so fond of saying, always translate, and Conner has those in Abundance. I don't foresee'm translating into a dominant HalfBack, and consider it more likely that he bumbles around near the bottom of the Depth Chart, for the most part. But I bet he'll be terrific on Special Teams, a Locker Room Leader, and will make the very most of his Few Scraps of Talent.
And I think that I just might profile'm as a WingBack, later on.
* Update: Upon Further Reflection, I believe that I undervalued Connor's Prospects a bit ~ maybe two bits. A Player with his level of Drive and Determination is certainly going to develop into a far better Blocker ~ something that he's only had, effectively, one Year to work on, consistently ~ and while he's no version of explosive, the combination of Power and Receiving Talent as an Outlet Option means that he'll be able to play all 3 Downs, not dynamically, but effectively.
The Market moved'm up from the 5th/6th Round Range...and so shall I!!
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!!