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
Agility ~ Phenomenal. Watching Tape of Huff as an alleged WideOut, it became crystal clear to me that the man was born to Run the Damned Ball: He has been blessed with that exquisite Trifecta of Acceleration, Fluidity, and sweet, explosive Ricochet out'f'is Breaks, and clearly has the Capacity to break ankles all day long, given the chance.
Processing Speed ~ Excellent. Exhibited tremendous Field Vision with the Ball in his Hands. This is obviously a bit of a Projection, of course, because receiving the Ball behind the Line of Scrimmage and receiving it 5, 10, or more Yards beyond the Line of Scrimmage offer dramatically different Dynamics, but his Field Vision is clear.
Blocking ~ Exceptional. I love to watch this guy Block. He's aggressive, he's clearly got some Core Power, and he's just as clearly got an Appetite for Combat. Impressive Paw Power and nicely developed Combat Skills.
Receiving ~ Heh. As a WideOut ~ the way that everybody else in the Known Universe is evaluating him ~ Huff has Potential but is by no means mesmerizing. But as a FlexBack, a guy whose responsibilities would be more Auxiliary than Primary? His Potential is phenomenal. Developing as a WideOut for 4 Years under Chip Kelly's System goes a long way. Acceleration, Fluidity, and Ricochet are strong points for Huff, though his Routing still needs Work.
Hey...I'm waiting for the Punch Line.
Everybody and his Mother is treating Josh Huff like a WideOut.
Mind you: That might have something to do with the fact that that's what he's been since he graduated High School.
But that ~ with great Respect to Coach Kelly ~ was an egregious mistake.
Or...maybe it was simply the correct Strategic Move to make, when considering Coach Kelly's entire Roster.
Whatever the reason ~ not my concern ~ I am here to say that I pray to God that Josh Huff is drafted by a Team that realizes what they've got here...and let me tell you, Ladies & Laddies, if I may be so bold: It isn't a freaking WideOut.
In the unlikely event that the Team that is lucky or wise enough to initially acquire the Services of Josh Huff realize that they have acquired the Services of a FlexBack, I believe that they will find ~ perhaps after a Year or so to allow him to re-acclimate himself ~ that they have acquired the Services of a potentially dynamic SuperStar.
Josh Huff's Resume may currently ~ through no fault of his own ~ say "moderately talented WideOut."
But what I see on Tape is a FlexBack who brings an explosive combination of Power, Agility and Field Vision to the Running Game...and whose Field Vision and Agility bring a truly dynamic quality to the Passing Game.
This Great Game continues to evolve...And Hybrid Talents like Josh Huff offer extraordinary Opportunity.
I seriously doubt that the Potential that I perceive in Josh Huff will ever be realized...
But I'm damned if I'm gonna concede that.
Thanks, as always, to the extraordinary Work by the men of Draft BreakDown!!
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