Offensive Center ~ Shaq Mason ~ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets ~ 6015/310
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 Centers:
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 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 Blocking: Power, Agility, Combat Skills, Processing Speed, and Motor.
Pass Blocking: Power, Agility, 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.
* Paw Power ~ The Power & Speed of the initial Punch.
* Paw Velocity ~ How active the Hands are.
* Paw Positioning ~ It's all about Angles & Leverage.
* Frame ~ Above all: WingSpan.
* Processing Speed ~ Field Vision. Reading Defensive Schemes quickly and effectively, and finding 2nd Level Targets.
* Motor ~ Intensity and Duration.
* Power ~ Drive Power to project Power in the Running Game.
* Agility ~ especially Acceleration DownField or to the Flank.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
* Power ~ Anchoring Strength to reject Power in the Passing Game.
* Agility ~ especially Fluidity to Mirror the Pass Rusher.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
Agility: Phenomenal. Tremendous Launch Velocity, extraordinary Fluidity, and explosive Acceleration.
Combat Skills: Mediocre because he's Raw in Pass Protection ~ the Yellow Jackets play the Triple Option Offense, which is dominated by the Run Game ~ but with potential for Excellence, for that already describes his Run Blocking.
Intangibles: Outstanding. Impressive Field Vision and phenomenal Motor. Will need to learn Pass Blocking, mind you!!
Run Blocking: Extraordinary. Phenomenal Power, excellent Combat Skills, tremendous Agility, and a sensational Motor!! I believe that Mason has the Power to demolish Defenders in a Power Scheme, the Fluidity to redirect both quickly and smoothly in any Scheme, and the Short Speed Acceleration to wreak havoc all over the Field of Battle!!
Pass Blocking: Deficient!! Yeah, he's gonna need a lot of Work on that!! Even so, Mason, a relative Novice to Pass Blocking when he arrived at Senior Bowl and took his lump, reportedly improved rapidly over the course of the week.
That entails a significant amount of Uncertainty and Risk, of course.
And I shall attenuate my Grade & Rank accordingly.
Even so, I believe that The Market is once again drastically underrating a Prospect because it quivers with Fear when faced with anything Off The Grid. Every single Prospect carries a substantial Risk of Failure, regardless of Pedigree.
Mason's Prospects carry Uncertainty and Risk, both because of his inexperience in Pass Protection and because, in order to maximize one's Return on Investment, you need to Convert'm from Guard ~ where his Frame is clearly deficient ~ to Center, where it is perfect. But I believe that The Market is drastically overrating the Discount one should apply.
"A mercurial Formula that blends Talent, Speed of Improvement, and the Probability of continuing that Speed of Improvement, based on perceived Intelligence, Passion, and Work Ethic: Talent x Intelligence x Drive."
By my Calculations, Shaq Mason is loaded.
His Power & Agility are phenomenal, his Motor is ferocious, and he's said to be a Quick Learner.
Sign me up, baby!!
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!!