Offensive Tackle ~ Julien Davenport ~ Bucknell Bison ~ 6066/318
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...until The Only Games That Really Matter.
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.
This is how I break things down, when I'm evaluating Offensive Tackles:
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 will still fail if you simply can't dig in your Heels. But Core Power enables an Offensive Lineman to project Power in the Running Game and to reject Power in the Passing 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 lurching around like FrankenStein.
Frame: Vertical Leverage, Hands, Arm Length, and WingSpan.
Combat Skills: Horizontal Leverage, Paw Positioning, Paw Persistence, and FootWork.
Processing Speed: How quickly and effectively one Reads & Reacts to the Rapidly Roiling Tactical LandScape!!
Motor: Endurance and Drive: How much Work has been put into Conditioning, and how it manifests itself.
Run Blocking: Applying it all: Power, Agility, Frame, Combat Skills, Processing Speed, and Motor.
Pass Blocking: Power, Agility, Frame, Combat Skills, Processing Speed, and Motor.
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 in the Passing Game. The capacity to Stand One's Ground.
* Drive Power in the Running Game. The capacity to drive your man back.
* Fluidity, above all things: Core Agility & Flexibility makes everything possible.
* Launch Velocity ~ Speed into Contact off the Snap.
* Acceleration ~ Short Speed or Quickness.
* Vertical Leverage. Height is crucial, but it's actually better, I believe, to be an Inch shorter than an Inch Taller.
* Hands. The larger the better, generally, but compact is never a bad Attribute in The Trenches.
* Arm Length. Absolutely crucial. He who boasts the longer Arms initiates Combat.
* WingSpan. Arm Length + Torso Width. A more complete Measurement.
* Lateral Leverage. Angles. Getting Square or better with the Target.
* Paw Positioning ~ It's all about Angles & Leverage.
* Paw Persistence ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* FootWork ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* Reading & Reacting to Defensive Schemes & Stunts quickly and effectively.
* Field Vision: Finding Targets & approaching them effectively.
* Power ~ Drive Power to project Power in the Running Game.
* Agility ~ especially Acceleration DownField or to the Flank.
* Frame ~ especially Vertical Leverage.
* Combat Skills.
* Processing Speed.
* Power ~ Anchoring Strength to reject Power in the Passing Game.
* Agility ~ especially Fluidity to Mirror the Pass Rusher.
* Frame ~ especially WingSpan.
* Combat Skills.
* Processing Speed.
Power: Marginal. Shaky Core Power, exacerbated by a tall Frame.
Agility: Mediocre. Potentially excellent. Competitive Launch Velocity. Mediocre Acceleration and marginal Speed. Mediocre Fluidity, as well, but his 3 Cone and Short Shuttle Times at The Combine indicate the presence of tremendous Intrinsic Fluidity that could possibly be transformed into Functional Fluidity with the right professional Training.
Frame: Outstanding. His Frame is too tall for decent Vertical Leverage, but his WingSpan is flat out sensational.
Combat Skills: Marginal. Mediocre Paw Persistence and poor Positioning, Lateral Leverage, and FootWork.
Processing Speed: Exceptional. Of course I'm extrapolating that against Division 57 Competition, but Smart is Smart!! And he's a 2 Time Team Captain who reportedly puts in a lot of Time & Study to earn that Processing Speed.
Motor: Good. Steady Intensity and Stamina.
Run Blocking: Marginal, but with competitive Potential if he can develop his Combat Skills and Agility.
Pass Blocking: Competitive and with phenomenal Potential!!
He's got a Ton of Work to do, but I'd actually be less optimistic if he'd attended an higher caliber College and emerged from one of them with such Deficiencies of Power and Combat Skills, and mediocre Functional Fluidity that stands in stark contrast to what his Combine Scores indicate is there. No Disrespect to Bucknell College, of course: It's simply that Division 63 Colleges don't have access to more'n a fraction of the Resources that the higher Colleges do.
That means that it's a virtual Certainty that Davenport's about to start receiving a far higher Grade, and far greater Depth, of Coaching and Support, in terms of Combat Skills, in terms of Weight Training that'll address Core Power better than previously, and in terms of the kind of Training ~ Yoga? Pilates? ~ that'll improve his Functional Flexibility.
It then becomes a matter of whether or not Julien Davenport possesses enough Drive and Intelligence to Do The Work ~ to make the enormous Investment of Extra Time and Extra Training that it's going to take to develop his Power, his Combat Skills, and his Fluidity...and to reap the Benefits and deliver them on the Field of Battle when it matters.
Trajectory > A Philosophical Formula that calculates a Prospect's Potential & Risk, based on perceptions of Talent, Intelligence, Passion, and Work Ethic: Talent x Intelligence x Drive = Potential/Risk.
I don't give a Rat's Ass what Division Julien Davenport played at. It matters, mind you, but I'm far more interested in Talent, Intelligence, and Drive, and Davenport, while certainly hindered by poor Combat Skills and insufficient Power, brings tremendous Intrinsic Fluidity to Mirror if he can develop it, he brings an absolutely magnificent WingSpan, and we're discussing a Prospect who reportedly hasn't missed a Start or a Practice in 4 Years, who reportedly burns the MidNight Candle in the Tape Room, and who presents bountiful corroborating Evidence of these Reports in his exceptional Processing Speed, his having been voted Team Captain twice, and even his phenomenal Wonderlic Score!!
In other Words: The tremendous Intrinsic Fluidity to Mirror if he can develop it, a Frame broad enough to develop the Power he needs, an awesome WingSpan not only to develop the Combat Skills he needs, but to potentially develop into a dominant Pass Protector...and phenomenal levels of Intelligence and Drive. Yeah. I'm kind'f a Fan.
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!!