Bandit ~ Kyler Fackrell ~ Utah State Aggies 6050/245
For that reason, and in order to offer NomenClature that speaks not to archaic, obsolete "Positions", but rather to Skill Sets that accurately reflect the dynamic Changes of the 21st Century Game and the Roles they have spawned, I have undertaken to craft Terminology that is designed to break Skill Sets down as they really are.
Defensive Coordinators have, since Time Immemorial, employed highly creative terminology in devising Defenses and in designating Assignments. In that Spirit, I have admittedly indulged myself considerably in devising the following NomenClature. It is undeniably colorful, but I like to think that there's an underlying Logic, as well:
Bandits ~ This is my term, derived from Defensive Schemes, for Players with the WingSpan for the Defensive Line yet who, unlike Dragons, lack the Size to play there regularly, because they can't be expected to Anchor against the Run.
They are thus the right Size though a bit tall to play MidFielder and can generally do so, but I believe are optimally employed as Wild Cards, deployed all over the Formation from Snap to Snap, usually in the murky, shifty region between the Defensive Line and the MidFielders, usually standing up, and generally giving no clue as to their Intentions.
I believe that the Bandit, whatever he's called in a given Formation, stands at the very EpiCenter of the disruptive Changes that Defensive Formations are undergoing today. Their unique combination of Size & Speed offers precisely that Wild Card Variable that I believe is potentially priceless for Defenses to compete and indeed to excel in the incessantly and rapidly evolving Strategic LandScape of the 21st Century. The Prototype would be around 6030/245 or so, I'd say.
As the ultimate Defensive Hybrid, Bandits could quite conceivably Rush the Passer, Blitz the Run, or Drop into Coverage on any given play, and from virtually any alignment on the Line or in the BackField. They won't anchor against the Run very effectively, they won't overwhelm with Power in their Pass Rush, and they're not built to Turn & Burn with WideOuts in Coverage, but they are in fact optimally built to conceivably compete effectively in all three Facets of the Game.
Of course, where and how any given Coach chooses to deploy his Players is his Business. Players that I characterize as Bandits may often or even routinely line up anywhere, on any given Down. My only purpose is simply to identify what I perceive as Skill Sets, to distinguish types, if you will, and perhaps create a universal Point of Reference.
When evaluating Bandits, this is how I break down the Attributes to which I pay most particular attention:
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 still fails if you can't dig in your heels. But Core Power enables a Defensive Lineman to project Power in the Passing Game and to reject Power in the Running 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 stiff and lumbering out there.
Combat Skills: Paw Power, Mechanics ~ Hand Speed & Positioning ~ and of course: Frame.
Intangibles: Processing Speed and Motor. Processing Speed or Diagnostic Velocity is about how quickly and effectively one Reads & Reacts to how the Rapidly Roiling Tactical LandScape effects Blocking Schemes, and Motor is about Endurance and Drive: How much Work has been put into Conditioning, and how it manifests itself.
Run Defense: Power, Agility, Combat Skills, Navigating Traffic, Processing Speed, Motor, and Tackling.
Pass Coverage: Agility, Processing Speed, and Catch Point Capacity.
Pass Rush: Power, Agility, and Combat Skills.
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 against the Run.
* Drive Power in the Pass Rush.
* Fluidity, above all things: Core Agility & Flexibility makes everything possible.
* Launch Velocity ~ Speed into Contact off the Snap.
* Acceleration ~ Short Speed or Quickness.
* Frame ~ Arms, Hands, and above all: WingSpan.
* Field Vision ~ Reacting to the Tactical LandScape: It's all about Angles & Leverage.
* Paw Positioning ~ It's all about Angles & Leverage.
* Paw Persistence ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* FootWork ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* Processing Speed ~ Field Vision. Rapidly Reading & Reacting to the Offense.
* Motor ~ Intensity and Duration.
* Combat Skills
* Navigating Traffic
* Processing Speed
* Processing Speed
* Processing Speed
* Catch Point Capacity
* Combat Skills
Agility: Exceptional. Impressive Launch Velocity, exceptional Fluidity, and excellent Closing Speed.
Combat Skills: Adept. Decent Persistence and Mechanics. Exceptional WingSpan translates to intriguing Potential.
Intangibles: Impressive. Competitive Field Vision and excellent Motor.
Run Defense: Vulnerable at The Point Of Attack because of mediocre Core Power, but he has the WingSpan to potentially neutralize that Liability. His best Potential in Run Defense is In Pursuit. None of his Field Vision, Motor, or Combat Skills stand out, but his Agility is indeed exceptional, and his Closing Speed in particular. I'd give his Range a grade of Impressive, right now, but if he develops the other Aspects of his Game, he could become Excellent.
Pass Coverage: Exceptional. One might think that Fackrell's terrific Agility would translate into superior Pass Coverage, and one would be correct. He's no CornerBack, out there, but for a 245 Pounder? Yes. Exceptional.
Pass Rush: Mediocre but with some Potential. There is very little Bull Rushing in Fackrell's Future, but he's got the Fluidity, the WingSpan, and the Closing Speed to make an Impact, if he develops his Combat Skills.
And it compels me to attenuate my Grade downward.
But there is definite Value, here. Fackrell is Married and already has a Child with his Wife, and you can definitely count me among those who attenuate his Grade upward because of those Factors. And indeed he has earned an outstanding Reputation in every Aspect of Character, most crucially that of a ferocious, dedicated Worker.
Talent x Intelligence x Motor = Potential/Risk, as I am fond of saying. And there are no bad Indicators about Fackrell's FootBall Intelligence and nothing but great Indicators about his Work Ethic. Trajectory? High.
Until he either Beefs Up or develops more refined and smoother Combat Skills to compensate for mediocre Core Power, he'll be something of a Liability at The Point Of Attack in Run Defense. But I believe that he is a strong Bet to develop those Combat Skills, which should not only neutralize that Deficiency, but also to improve his Field Vision, as well, the combination of which should extend his Range even further and tranform'm into an Impact Player.
He has Potential ~ very raw Potential, mind you ~ as a Pass Rusher, as well.
And his greatest Potential is probably in Pass Coverage, where his Agility translates very nicely indeed, and where with Time and Training he could make a significant contribution to a 21st Century Hybrid Defense.
Indeed, Kyler Fackrell, long in the tooth though he may be ~ haw ~ brings precisely the kind of Skill Set, should he reach his full Potential, that Defenses desperately need in the 21st Century: Genuine Hybrids that can compete effectively in all 3 Aspects of Defense. Kyler Fackrell is that rare Prospect with the Potential to excel in all 3 Aspects, as a good Run Defender, a good Pass Rusher, and as an exceptional, perhaps even excellent Pass Defender.
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!!