Flanker ~ JuJu Smith Schuster ~ Southern California Trojans ~ 6012/216
Split Ends are usually the bigger, taller WideOuts who line up in the X Position, on the Line of Scrimmage.
SlotBacks are usually the quicker, smaller WideOuts who line up at the Y Position, off the Line.
FlankerBacks are usually the faster WideOuts who line up at the Z Position, off the Line.
The Split End prototype would be about 6030/225 or so.
The Flanker prototype would be about 6000/200 or so.
The SlotBack prototype would be about 5010/195 or so.
And I'm adding a 4th: The Slot End.
The term may make some Readers cringe, for the same reason that the term "Jumbo Shrimp" might.
And it's a term, as far as I know, entirely of my own Invention.
But it is of course the perfect Tactical term for a WideOut lined up in the Slot yet on the Line of Scrimmage.
And it strikes me as an excellent term to describe a WideOut who's not necessarily tall ~ like a Split End ~ not necessarily fast ~ like a FlankerBack ~ and not necessarily spry ~ like a SlotBack ~ and is often a bit Beefy. Not necessarily beefy enough to take on a Flex End's Blocking Responsibilites, but beefy enough for a Split End's.
I'm talking about WideOuts who're well suited to catch Balls in Traffic, and Move The Chains.
However a given Coach chooses to deploy the Soldiers at his disposal is of course entirely up to him, and most WideOuts will see Snaps at multiple Positions and in multiple Alignments, but I believe that it is valuable to categorize WideOuts in terms of classic Skill Sets, to better define the differences in the kind of Impact they might wield at the next level.
This is how I break things down when I'm evaluating all WideOuts:
Separation: Getting Open. This encompasses Combat Skills & Fluidity to beat Press, Acceleration out'f the Blocks, Fluidity and Ricochet in navigating Traffic, Route Running Precision, the capacity to deceive Defenders, and Field Vision for Timing Seems and Open Zones. All other Aspects of a WideOut's Job Description are dwarfed by this one.
Catch Point Capacity: In Transit or Contested: Hands, WingSpan, Vertical Agility, Combat Skills, and Timing.
Yards After Catch are well and fine, but it seems to me that 90% of the Value of a Flex End and any WideOut is getting open and catching the Ball. Anyone who's read my Work extensively knows that I consider Blocking to be the Heart & Soul of FootBall, but that is a philosophical position, and I recognize that with most Philosophies, where it comes to Wide Receivers and Flex Ends...it's just Gravy. And so is Yards After Catch: Moving The Chains is What Wins.
Chunk Yardage: An highly overrated Aspect of the Game, I believe, so much so that in fact I didn't even include it in 2016. It is not a negligible Aspect of the Game, so I'm bringing it back, but getting open, catching the Ball, and Moving the Chains are far more crucial to a Team's Success, I believe, than making Splash Plays and getting on ESPN HighLights Reels. Power, Fluidity, Ricochet, Speed, Combat Skills, and Processing Speed/Field Vision all play into Chunk Yardage.
Blocking: It was a Mistake to leave this Aspect ~ my very favorite Aspect of FootBall ~ out'f 2016's Flex End Reports, and I'm very happy to correct that Mistake, evermore. Blocking of course comes down to Power, Agility, Frame, Combat Skills, Processing Speed, and Motor, and further breaks down into In Line Blocking and Open Field Blocking.
Broken down into SubCategories, it'd go something like this:
* Combat Skills
* Field Vision
Catch Point Capacity
Catch Point Capacity
* Combat Skills
* Vertical Agility
* Combat Skills
* Field Vision
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
Separation: Impressive, and with outstanding Potential. Tremendous Power and Combat Skills, routinely beating Press Coverage. Moderate Long Speed, but impressive Acceleration DownField, impressive Ricochet out'f'is Breaks, and tremendous Fluidity. I'm reading everywhere, it seems, that his Route Running is raw, but I don't see it that way.
From my perspective, Schuster's Processing Speed and Field Vision is excellent. He consistently reads and reacts rapidly and effectively to Tactical LandScape, anticipates Seems, times them well, and gets Open. And he integrates both his Power and his remarkably serpentine Fluidity in collaboration to navigate Traffic and find the Open Zone.
Catch Point Capacity: Impressive and potentially excellent. The Combat Skills and Intensity at The Catch Point are already tremendous. His Timing is usually good, but he's still inconsistent, there. Same story with his Hands.
Chunk Yardage: Tremendous. Schuster's Long Speed is pedestrian, but his Fluidity and his Power are tremendous, and he has the Processing Speed, Field Vision...and the Intensity to put those to full, destructive Advantage.
Blocking: Excellent. Tremendous Power and Combat Skills, and a strong Appetite for Combat.
It's been interesting to watch the rise and slide ~ I wouldn't go so far as to call it a "Fall" ~ of JuJu Smith Schuster's Stock.
Following a spectacular 2015 Sophomore Campaign, his Statistics slid dramatically, and his Market Value, once red hot and seemingly destined for the Top 10, has slid, likewise, to the 1st/2nd Rounder ShadowLands
I believe that his Value lies far closer to the former. During the short 4 week stretch when Schuster was both fully healthy and working with Sam Darnold, he played against the Arizona WildCats, and looked like an improved version of his previously explosive 2015 Self. Considering that in September he was dealing with Southern California's transitional QuarterBack situation and perhaps the linger effects from a Toe that he sprained in August, and that from late October onward, he was dealing with a lower Back Injury, I believe that his Stock has been punished mistakenly.
JuJu Smith Schuster still has Work to do in developing both his Route Running and the consistency of'is Hands, but he is improving in both those Aspects of'is Game and in all other Aspects. That, combined with his ferocious Blocking, tell volumes about both his Intelligence and his Drive...especially considering that he only turned 20 in November!!
He has had bad moments, but taken as a whole, he strikes me as remarkably mentally, technically, and tactically developed for someone so young, and therefore very likely to continue on this upward Trajectory.
The Power, the Acceleration, and the Fluidity are there to develop into a dynamic Weapon at the next level ~ a guy with the physical skills to consistently get open, including against Press Coverage, and to develop not only into a potentially dominant Force at The Catch Point, but a potentially devastating Weapon, with the Ball in'is Hands.
He's got the Height of a Flanker, but the Beef of a Split End. I came very close to categorizing'm as a Slot End, because he's built that way and because his Long Speed is more reflective of a Chain Mover than a Zoomer...But his Acceleration and Fluidity are outstanding, and I believe that he's got the Potential to play at a very high level on the Outside.
...Which is not to say that he doesn't project incredibly well at Slot End!!
Indeed, I expect that he'll do plenty of both.
* Update: My Amusement increases.
Smithy was tremendous when he was healthy and an halfway decent QuarterBack was throwing'm the Ball.
Down the Stretch, as Simon Schuster gamely battled back from a Back Injury, his Statistics suffered...And his Market Value, consequently, slid from the 1st/2nd Round Range ~ already down from Top 10 ~ to the 2nd/3rd Round Range.
And, indeed: that's where he was drafted: At # 62.
It's this sort of thing that reinforces my Belief that I could outdraft every General Manager in the NFL.
Don't get me wrong: I presume nothing of The Future, and as I love to preach: the Difference between a Top 10 Talent and a UFA Talent ~ that's Undrafted Free Agent, to you Earthlings!! ~ is wafer-thin.
But Juju Smith Schuster Hyphenator is a Beast Prospect ~ 1st Round ~ and arguably Top 10.
Pay the Man!!
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!!