MidFielder ~ Joseph Walker ~ Oregon Ducks
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 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: Bizarre. Mediocre on Tape, but his Pro Day Numbers ~ always keeping in mind that Home Field on Pro Day skews things, relative to Combine Numbers ~ indicated tremendous Fluidity and phenomenal Speed. My Experience ~ and please keep in mind that I have very little of it ~ is that when there's a yawning gap between what Game Tape suggests and what Combine or Pro Day numbers suggest ~ between Functional Power & Agility and Intrinsic Power & Agility ~ that Intrinsic Power & Agility usually fails to ever manifest itself on The Field of Battle. So I take those Numbers with an enormous grain of salt. Even so: There is undoubtedly immense undeveloped Potential, here.
Combat Skills: Mediocre. Decent Mechanics but a detrimentally short WingSpan.
Intangibles: Tremendous. Excellent Field Vision and an outstanding Motor.
Run Defense: Marginal at The Point of Attack but exceptional Range.
Pass Coverage: Impressive. Fluidity and Field Vision.
Pass Rush: Mediocre.
There's no shortage of Plays where he looks lost and feeble, but when things are clicking for'm, Wow.
Walker seems to me to profile as a Will MidFielder in an Even Front, and in any case as a MidFielder far better, potentially, at Coverage and at covering a lot of Ground than at driving the A Gap and Doing Battle in The Trenches.
If he manages to beat the admittedly long Odds and develops his sensational combination of raw Power, Agility, and Speed into Functional Power, Agility, and Speed, he could become a genuine Force, flying all over the Field and making Plays in Coverage and in Run Defense. He could rack up Pro Bowls and become a 1st Ballot Hall of Famer.
Whether or not that comes to pass...Well, the Odds aren't that good...But they sure's Hell are enticing.
Grateful Thanks, as always, for the crucial Work done by the folks at Draft BreakDown!!
This is not is even remotely a Complaint, mind you, but rather a Warning: Caveat Emptor!!