SpeedBack ~ Keith Marshall ~ Georgia BullDogs
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: Excellent. Marshall is still recovering his Instincts after losing 2 Years to Injury, then spending the 3rd on a meager Snap Diet, and that effects his Functional Agility, but when he has those Flashes where It All Comes Back To Him, his Latent Agility is clearly evident: Just adequate Fluidity, but tremendous Ricochet and blistering Speed.
Field Vision: After 2 Campaigns and the great majority of a 3rd gathering dust? Awful. But those Flashes of Decisiveness do offer Hope, and he is by all accounts exceptionally fast in processing and implementing Information. So it's highly speculative, mind you, but my strong sense is that Field Vision is going to be a decided Strength of his.
Blocking: Exceptional. Mediocre Core Power, but high Motor and tremendous Combat Skills.
Receiving: Exceptional. Moderate Fluidity, but excellent Hands and explosive after the Catch.
But there are many Exceptions to that tendency of mine, and Keith Marshall is nothing if not exceptional.
Yeah, I admit it: I rolled my eyes when I read about his 4.31 40, but by the time I was done studying this kid, I was extremely impressed. He is indeed constrained by moderate Fluidity and mediocre Power, and his Field Vision is only starting to come back to'm...But when he does see the Lane in time to hit it, he explodes through that baby.
Believe me, I understand why he fell so far in the Draft, despite the League's preoccupation with 40 Yard Dash Times: He's produced only an handful of Yards since 2012, he's had multiple Injuries, and when he did get the Ball a few times, last Years, he often looked both Sluggish and Blind. Most go by what they see, not what they can extrapolate.
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.
Risk? Sure. It'd be foolish to dismiss Marshall's Injury History, but it'd be equally foolish to jump to the conclusion that he's made of Glass. He had the huge Knee Injury late in 2013, and then a couple more in 2014 ~ a Year which it was speculated that he might Red Shirt, which clearly would've been the smarter Choice ~ when he rushed back.
Lingering Affects are possible, mind you, but I've got a 4.31 40 Yard Dash that says his Knees are Mint.
Field Vision? 3 Years in a virtual Coma will lay on a few level of Rust on one's Processing Speed, but the Flashes of It's All Coming Back To Me were clearly there, last Year, and Marshall is by all accounts exceptionally quick of mind. He's unquestionably got Work to do, mind you, but Work Ethic is also by all accounts an enormous Strength of his.
Agility? All major Aspects of FootBall ~ Power, Agility, and Intelligence ~ are interconnected, and I am dead certain that Marshall's mediocre Functional Agility on the Field of Battle last Autumn was simple a result of his rusty-ass Field Vision: Get the Processing Speed back up to speed, and the Functional Agility will recover completely. Mind you: Fluidity is definitely not a Strength, but neither is it a Liability of his, and his Ricochet and Speed are outstanding.
Yeah, I am unabashedly taking a serious squint into my Looking Glass to extrapolate Keith Marshall's Chances of Success at the next level, but Talent x Intelligence x Drive = Potential/Risk, baby, and it says here that Keith Marshall scores extremely high on all 3 Categories, with far less Risk than is generally perceived. Buy!!
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!!