Wolf Tackle ~ Larry Ogunjobi ~ Charlotte Miners
Old Roles are getting dramatically transformed, and virtually every Front 7 ~ or Front 6!! ~ Defensive Job Description is transitioning into an Hybrid Role where the Defender is asked to excel in multiple Roles and in multiple Fronts.
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:
Wolves ~ Wolves are the smaller, faster Defensive Tackles. Whereas Grizzlies will generally be counted on to command Double Teams and stop the Inside Run, Wolves will usually be asked to penetrate the Pocket and disrupt, especially against the Pass. The Prototype would be somewhere around 6015/300 or less, and they're getting smaller.
Of course, where and how any given Coach chooses to deploy his Players is his Business. Players that I characterize as Wolves 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 Wolf Tackles, 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 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. Above all: Pass Rush Repertoire.
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 Defense: All the Above, applied.
Pass Rush: Ditto.
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, Rushing the Passer.
* 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.
* Pass Rush Repertoire: Variety.
* Reading & Reacting to Offensive Blocking Schemes with Speed & Precision.
* Field Vision: Finding Targets & approaching them effectively.
Power: Exceptional Torso Power and exceptional Core Power.
Agility: Exceptional Launch Velocity, Fluidity, and Acceleration.
Frame: Marginal. His Height is all right to play Tackle and excellent to play End, but his WingSpan is short even for Tackle.
Combat Skills: Competitive, with excellent Potential. Ogunjobi, an Nigerian Immigrant, only started playing FootBall as a High School Sophomore, and his Paw Positioning, Lateral Leverage, FootWork, and Pass Rushing Repertoire are mediocre. However, his Paw Persistence is exceptional and his Paw Velocity is tremendous.
Processing Speed: Marginal, but with exceptional Potential. His lack of Experience shows, in that he'll often miscalculate his Timing and Trajectory on the way to the QuarterBack or Runner. Extraordinary Drive and Intelligence, though. Four straight Years on the Athletic Director's Honor Role, according to Lance Zierlein at NFL.com.
Motor: Impressive Intensity and Stamina.
Run Defense: Mediocre, but with Potential. Though hampered by his shorter WingSpan, Ogunjobi's got the Power and the Launch Velocity to compete effectively at The Point of Attack, and the Fluidity and Acceleration to excel In Pursuit. His development of his Combat Skills, Processing Speed, and Field Vision will determine his Fate.
Pass Rush: Same Story: Mediocre but with Potential. If Ogunjobi develops his Pass Rushing Repertoire and improves his Processing Speed and Field Vision, he's got the Launch Velocity, the Power, the Fluidity, and the Acceleration to be an Impact Player at the next level. He could make far more of an Impact than he did at Charlotte.
I believe that that WingSpan will likely prevent him from becoming dominant, but I'm considerably less confident that either his Combat Skills or Processing Speed will prove to be lasting Hindrances. Intelligence does not necessarily translate successfully into Processing Speed, mind you ~ I ought to know ~ but now that Ogunjobi stands to get professional Coaching, I'm confident that with enough Time & Training, he'll have the Chance to improve considerably.
And four straight Years on the Athletic Director's Honor Role tells me all that I need to know about both his Intelligence and his Drive. Four straight Years of Sustained High Intensity Work, even while training at FootBall. I am extremely confident that Larry Ogunjobi has all the Intelligence and Drive in the World...and therefore that he will do whatever it takes, for however long it takes, to apply what his Coaches give'm to the Field of Battle, and succeed in doing so.
I therefore see a Prospect with the Potential to become an Impact Player, primarily as a Speed Tackle in a 43, but also able to deploy as a Speed End in a 34, with exceptional Potential both as a Run Defender and as a Pass Rusher.
How much of his Potential he'll attain ~ given the Opportunity to do so, of course ~ is not certain to me, both because of his WingSpan Liability and because of the possibility that he simply doesn't have the latent FootBall Intelligence to ever develop better than mediocre Field Vision, but Intelligence and Drive go a long, long way in this Game.
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!!