SpeedBack ~ Joseph Williams ~ Utah Utes
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: Marginal. Not an Inside Runner. Definitely should be targeted only by Zone Scheme Teams.
Agility: Phenomenal. Awesome Acceleration to the Hole, excellent Speed, DownField, outstanding Fluidity, and magnificent Richochet out'f'is Cuts. He Quick, he's Fast, he's Fluid, and he's explosive.
Field Vision: Excellent, both in Synchronizing his Timing with his Linemen and in Reading & Reacting to Traffic.
Blocking: Marginal. Tremendous Motor, but marginal Combat Skills and marginal Power.
Receiving: Mediocre yet with extraordinary Potential. Decent Hands. Marginal Route Running Repertoire, because Utah simply doesn't include HalfBacks on many Passes, but impressive Route Running, despite his Inexperience: his excellent Field Vision translates, as does his awesome Agility, and the combination render'm, despite his marginal Power and inexperience, very and potentially extremely dangerous after the Catch, once he gets some Time & Training.
DeMerits: Poor Ball Security. Arrested for Larceny back in 2013, forcing him out of Connecticut and thence to the OwlHoot Trail, working his way back through Junior College. And of course: He gave up FootBall altogether, back in September. However, when he returned, it was not on'is on Whim, but at the request of his Head Coach. And he jumped.
And that's fair. But I'm less inclined to cross these kids off my theoretical List because of such Issues than most NFL types seem to be. I think that most'f'm forget that we're talking about very young Men, here, guys coming to grips with being Adults, what the Consequences of their Actions might be, and what they want out of their Lives. USA Today took a deep, detailed Look at what caused Williams to step away from the Game...and what brought'm back.
I'll leave it to the Reader to determine what they think about that, and spare you the lengthy dissertation. I'll just give you my conclusion: I believe that Joseph Williams has purged his Demons. I'd be the last guy to presume to tell you that there's any such thing as a Sure Thing. Anyone can screw up, for any number of reasons, purged Demons or not.
But when Joseph Williams came back, in October, he ran like a Bat out'f Hell. He was, by all Accounts, a changed Man ~ a Man who'd finally laid a Great Burden down. And it matters to me that Utah's Leadership Council voted unanimously to bring'm back, and that it was indeed the Team that asked him to come back, not the other way around.
As far as I'm concerned, his Slate is Clean.
As a Prospect, Joseph Williams has plenty of Flaws: Marginal Power, marginal Blocking Skills, and marginal Ball Security, not to mention very little Passing Game Experience and therefore a Raw Route Running Repertoire.
He's going to need to go to a Zone Scheme Team, he gonna need to develop his Blocking, he's gonna need to develop his Receiving Game, and he's gonna have to work on his Ball Security. That's a Lot of Time & Training.
But man, does he have some serious Potential.
Joseph Williams brings an extraordinary Fusion of Field Vision and Agility to the Field of Battle. One without the other is a Waste, but being able to rapidly Read & React effectively to the Tactical LandScape, combined with a phenomenal combination of Speed, Fluidity, and explosive Ricochet, make Williams an elite level Threat. He's got the Potential to develop into a Runner who consistently Moves The Chains and racks up enormous Chunk Yardage.
He's effectively limited to Zone Scheme Teams. And even then, there is no Certainty that he'll become effective Between the Tackles. He's raw as Hell as a Blocker and might not ever become effective there, either. And he's raw as Hell as a Receiver, too. That is one Hell of a lot of Risk, even setting aside an Character Concerns, as I do.
But is his FootBall Future worth investing in? Hell, yeah.
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!!