Nittany Lions ~ 6030/312
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...when The Only Games That Really Matter are played.
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.
These are the Aspects of their Games that I place greatest emphasis on, when evaluating Offensive Centers:
Power. Above all: Core Power. Upper body Strength 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 Lineman to project Power in the Running Game and to reject Power in the Passing Game. And those Players who invest the time and effort to develop superior Core Power are far likelier to enjoy sustained good Health and stay on the Field.
Agility. Lateral 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. Mechanics. Launch Velocity, Paw Power, and Technique.
Intangibles. Diagnostic Capacity, Processing Speed, and Motor. How effectively he masters Spatial Diagnostics & Angles, how rapidly he recognizes and implements Blocking Schemes based on changing Defensive Tactics, and of course: Drive. How badly he wants it. These are of course difficult things to assess, but it's crucial to at least try to.
Power. Superior. Impressive Core Power and strong upper body, as well.
Agility. Moderate. Impressive Launch Velocity and proficient Fluidity, though mediocre Acceleration.
Combat Skills. Proficient Mechanics. Tremendous Field Vision. Not Agile, but plays shrewdly well in Space.
Intangibles. Magnificent. Absolutely awesome command of Blocking Schematics and Tactical Adjustments. Strong Motor.
His Frame, while adequate for Offensive Guard, is optimal for Center, but that's only for starters.
His Launch Velocity ~ absolutely crucial at the Pivot ~ is one of his Strengths.
His combination of strong Core Power and moderate Agility, while good for a Guard, are an excellent match for a Center.
But it's his Brains, above all, that tell me he was born to play Center. John Urschel exhibits by all accounts a phenomenal Command of both Offensive and Defensive Schematics, and the Processing Speed to convey his understanding to his Mates rapidly, should he be asked to do so. And he has been trained in Coach Bill O'Brien's Pro Style Offense.
I believe that his superior Core Power and mediocre Fluidity render him an athletically better fit for a Power Scheme than a Zone Scheme, where he can focus his Core Power on the man in front of him. However, his extraordinary grasp of Schematics strongly suggest to me that he has the potential to excel in a Zone Scheme, as well.
Yes, I believe that John Urshel projects as a solid starting Offensive Guard, but a potentially exceptional Center.
Thanks, as always, to the extraordinary Work by the men of Draft BreakDown!!
Perceived Market Value