Offensive Guard ~ Mason Cole ~ Michigan Wolverines ~ 6045/304
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 Guards:
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.
Bubba's been working on'is Core Power.
Agility: Impressive. His Launch Velocity into'is Set in Pass Protection and into'is Surge in the Running Game is adept. His Fluidity to Mirror in Pass Protection or to change direction in the Running Game is likewise effective. His Acceleration, driving to the Flanks or DownField in the Running Game, on the other hand, is exceptional.
Frame: Mediocre. He's the Right Height for optimal Vertical Leverage at Offensive Guard ~ which is why I project him there despite his never having played there in College, of course ~ and I reserve the right to change my Grade if his Measurements at The Combine prove me wrong, but his WingSpan seems a bit short to me.
Combat Skills: Marginal. It seems to me that Cole still needs a lot of Work, here. His Command of Lateral Leverage seems mediocre, as he often failed to get Square with his Opponent, both on 2015 Tape and that of the current Campaign. His Paw Positioning is far better, and I'd give it a Competitive Grade at this point, as he's become far more consistent at attacking the Frame of'is Foe rather than the Perimeter. His Paw Persistence and FootWork, on the other hand, are marginal, as he all too frequently loses a Battle that he was winning, and lets his Foe get loose.
Processing Speed: Competitive as a 1st Year Offensive Center, which my Calculus tells me translates to Impressive, and that is indeed how I'd grade his 2015 Work at Left Tackle. He should improve with Time & Training.
Motor: Mediocre. Impressive Motor, but Marginal Endurance, from what I've seen so far.
Run Blocking: Competitive. There is tremendous Potential, here, as Cole's fusion of impressive and improving Power and exceptional Acceleration project to a potentially highly disruptive Force who could routinely Wreak Havoc behind Enemy Lines. He just needs to continue to develop his Combat Skills and Field Vision to unlock that Potential.
Pass Blocking: Marginal. Here, too, though, there is Potential, though far less so, I believe, because Cole's Fluidity to Mirror is far less dynamic than his Acceleration, and because his WingSpan looks short to me.
Cole's an interesting Prospect, and an interesting Kid. I was especially intrigued by his comment in that Article that, while he is in fact planning on asking for a Grade from the Draft Advisory Board, it's because he wants their Evaluation on Aspects of his Game that he needs to improve on. I find that not only smart, but commendable.
I would certainly advise him to follow his current Thinking and go back for another Year, not only because he needs a lot of Work on his Combat Skills and improving his Processing Speed, but because both his comment and the dramatic Improvement I saw in his Power and Paw Positioning in 2016 indicate that he's both Intelligent and Driven enough to benefit, perhaps significantly, from another Year of Time & Training, even though at the wrong Position.
Right now, I see a lot of Potential in the Running Game and sufficient Potential in the Passing Game, and I see a lot of Flaws, so my Grade is not very high...But that may very well change dramatically in a Year.
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!!