Dragon End ~ Stephen Weatherly ~ Vanderbilt
Commodores ~ 6042/267
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:
Dragons ~ This is my terminology for Players who may've played either Defensive End or what you Earthlings call "OutSide LineBacker" in College, and who in any case possess the Size to player either at the next level. They would generally be deployed as Ends in a 43 or as "OutSide LineBackers" in a 34, and have even been known to get deployed as Interior Rushers in the Nascar Package. The Prototype would generally be somewhere around 6050/265 or so.
Of course, where and how any given Coach chooses to deploy his Players is his Business. Players that I characterize as Dragons 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.
Dragons in a 43 are Defensive Linemen, but Dragons in a 34, for instance, are off the Line and may be asked to drop into Pass Coverage from time to time, so that capacity ~ observed or inferred is going to be part of my Evaluations.
When evaluating Dragons, 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
* Catch Point Capacity
* Combat Skills
Agility: Tremendous. Impressive Launch Velocity, impressive Fluidity, and phenomenal Acceleration.
Combat Skills: Mediocre but with tremendous Potential, based on Fluidity and an outstanding WingSpan.
Intangibles: Mediocre. Decent Motor but sporadic Field Vision and Processing Speed.
Run Defense: Raw, but with tremendous Potential. He's got the Frame to become a Force at The Point of Attack, the Speed to cover an enormous swath of ground, the size to bring damaging Impact when he arrives, and the WingSpan to hack his way through Traffic and haul down Runners. However, he's got a lot of Work to do before he achieves that Potential: He needs to Beef Up, and both his Combat Skills and especially his Field Vision and have a long ways to go.
Pass Coverage: He's even rawer in this Aspect, but with Fluidity that translates to intriguing Potential, as well.
Pass Rush: Yet again, we have tremendous but raw Potential: Launch Velocity, Fluidity, a great WingSpan, and outstanding Acceleration. If he can develop his Power and Combat Skills, he could become a dominant Pass Rusher.
Does he have the Mind and the Motor to develop his Potential?
Folks, I don't know. His Field Vision and Processing Speed are, to employ the Accounting Term, Current Liabilities.
And his Motor is fine, but by no means overwhelming.
My Trajectory Formula states that Talent x Intelligence x Drive = Potential/Risk, with Intelligence referring not to Diagnostic Acuity but to Processing Speed. Now a lot of Factors play into Processing Speed and its First Cousin, Field Vision, and everyone learns at different paces, so I'm hardly about to write this kid off as a Special Teamer.
But the absence of strong Evidence that he's got the (FootBall) Intelligence and Drive both to take on and to benefit from the enormous burden of Time & Training that it's going to take in order for'm to develop his extraordinary Talent to its full Potential renders him a very risky Investment, I believe, so that Investment should be accordingly discounted.
But if he does happen to have what it takes, and if he gets the right Coaching and the right Opportunity, Stephen Weatherly has the Potential to develop into an extraordinary and extraordinarily versatile Impact Player, as a remarkably adept Coverage Defender, a monstrous Pass Rusher, and as a destructive and marauding Run 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!