Offensive Tackle ~ Taylor Decker ~ Ohio State BuckEyes ~ 6070/310
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 Offensive Tackles:
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.
* 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. 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: Marginal. Marginal Launch Velocity. Adequate Acceleration. Marginal Fluidity.
Combat Skills: Mediocre. Exceptional Mechanics, but short Arms and an alarmingly short WingSpan. I may have to break things down further next Year. Usually, the WingSpan is a Side Note to Combat Skills, with exceptional Mechanics generally translating to exceptional Combat Skills, but in Decker's unusual case, that just isn't so. And as Mechanics, in my mind, are more or less synonymous with Combat Skills, it strikes an odd note in my own mind to issues this grade.
Intangibles: Tremendous. Outstanding Motor and excellent Processing Speed. A Natural Leader.
Run Blocking: Decker's best Fit, I think, would be in a Zone Scheme, despite his marginal Agility, as his excellent Field Vision ~ his capacity to rapidly read the roiling Tactical LandScape ~ should be of tremendous Value. Mind you, I don't foresee'm excelling in either Zone or Power, but I do believe that Zone'd be a better match for'm.
Pass Blocking: With limited Agility, a short WingSpan, and only moderate functional Power, I believe he'll struggle.
Taylor Decker is by all Accounts a Natural Leader, a ferocious Competitor, and an hard Worker, but my perception is that his Championship Pedigree, his towering Frame, and perhaps The Law of Supply & Demand, as the League is starved for Offensive Tackles, has driven his Stock far and away beyond his Intrinsic Value.
I believe that the taller a Prospect is, the more susceptible his Height is to rendering itself not an Asset but a Liability, and I believe that Taylor Decker is one such Prospect. I believe that his combination of excess Height and short WingSpan considerably inhibits what Core Power he has, because his Set is already naturally high in the first place, and his diminutive WingSpan leaves him additionally susceptible to the depredations of his vinier Foes.
He often cannot apply what natural Power he possesses because of this, and this Liability is compounded by mediocre overall Agility. The result, I believe, will be Issues both with Power and with Speed.
I believe that Taylor Decker will have to rely heavily on Combat Skills ~ Mechanics, specifically ~ and Intelligence and Hard Work to survive at the next level, much less justify the lofty Market Value that his Stock commands.
Fortunately, he boasts all those Attributes in great Abundance, and I will be rooting for his Success, my dramatic Divergence with The Market where his Draft Value lies notwithstanding.
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!!