Bandit ~ Takkarist McKinley ~ Los Angeles Bruins ~ 6020/250
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:
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 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: Intensity and Stamina: How much Work has been put into Conditioning, and how it manifests itself.
Run Defense: All the Above, applied.
Pass Coverage: Ditto.
Pass Rush: Double Dirty Dog 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: Impressive. Given that I'm grading'm not as a Dragon ~ a Defensive End in a 43 ~ but as a Bandit who is basically the Defensive equivalent of a Flex End, and who optimally lines up around the Line of Scrimmage but isn't expected to grind in the Trenches too often...yes, his Anchoring Strength and Drive Power are both impressive.
Agility: Impressive. Excellent Launch Velocity. Mediocre Fluidity. Excellent Closing Speed. Yeah. A Straight Liner.
Frame: Magnificent. Very compact for a Bandit at 6020/250 and with a phenomenal WingSpan.
Combat Skills: Horrible. Needs to check his InBox, which'd inform's that he plays FootBall.
Yeah. He needs a bit'f Work.
Processing Speed: Mediocre. Very inconsistent Speed & Precision, Reading & Reacting.
Motor: Phenomenal Intensity and Stamina.
Run Defense: Competitive, but potentially tremendous. Yeah, that's an enormous Gap, and of course it's attributable to the fact that he brings the Power and Agility to become an Impact Player, but the Combat Skills of an Freshman.
Pass Coverage: Marginal. Potentially mediocre. Yeah, with mediocre Processing Speed, very little Experience, and mediocre Fluidity, Pass Coverage doesn't look like a potential Strength for young McKinley.
Pass Rush: Ah. Again, I'll go with competitive but potentially tremendous. McKinley's Combat Skills suck, but he's got the Power, the Speed, and above all the WingSpan to become a Force. He just needs Time & Training.
Tak McKinley!! Haiku:
Power. Speed. WingSpan. No Fluidity. No Combat Skills. Driven. Buy.
Heh. Yeah, Tak McKinley's oozing Beta ~ that's "Risk", to you Earthlings ~ doubly so, given the general Incompetence that's shown by most Defensive Coordinators in employing and deploying Bandits, despite it turning out that it's the 21st Century...But despite his raw Game, Tack McKinley brings considerable raw Talent to the Field of Battle and loads of Passion and Drive...and Processing Speed and Field Vision, while fundamentally intrinsic Talents, can be improved dramatically, if there's enough Drive to make that happen...and I believe that Tak McKinley's got that covered.
Everything's a Gamble, but if Tak McKinley develops his Potential to its fullest, he translates into a tremendous Run Defender and an outstanding Pass Rusher, though a mediocre at best Pass Defender, mind you...And my Assessment is that he's got a very good Chance of actualizing his considerable Potential, given the right Scheme.
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!