Flex End ~ Temuchin Hodges ~ Virginia Tech Hokies ~ 6060/256
Power Ends will be how I refer to the Players with a Frame built for the classic "In Line" Tight End ~ an Hybrid Player who serves as a combination Blocker and Receiver. There'll be Exceptions: I'd previously categorized Jimmy Graham as a Power End, but while his Frame is certainly that of one, his 40 Time ~ 4.53 at 260 Pounds!!! ~ trumps that.
The Prototype for a Power End would be about 6050/260 or so.
The "Tight Ends" whose Frames are better suited to be deployed in running Routes from all over the Formation, and who aren't especially renowned for their Blocking ~ though many are adept Chippers ~ I refer to as Flex Ends.
The Prototype would be about 6030/245 or so.
Those of either type who present legitimate Dual Threats ~ who can make a genuine Impact either as a Blocker or as a Receiver ~ are impossible to predict from Snap to Snap, and this renders them extraordinarily dangerous.
Conceivably even more dangerous and dynamic than either of these two types is one of my pet Positions: The WingBacks. I employ this ancient FootBall Term, one still in active use in many High Schools and Colleges, to refer to a Role so ethereal as to be almost imaginary: an Hybrid FullBack & Flex End ~ a Super Hybrid, if you will.
The Prototype would be about 6000/240 or so.
The WingBack, optimally, would be a guy capable of Lead Blocking in the Run Game, Pass Blocking in the Passing Game, or splitting out and running Pass Patterns from SlotBack, Slot End, Split End, or Flanker. He could line up at any of those spots, or on either Wing, on the Line, or in the BackField. He could even go In Motion or run the Ball!!
Such a versatile, dynamic Player could have an explosive Impact on the Competitive LandScape.
The Game has reached a point in its Tactical History that is perfect for such a Player.
It awaits only for the NFL to realize the Opportunity.
Because Flex Ends operate as an Hybrid's Hybrid ~ part Tight End and part WideOut, with Blocking ~ the occasional Chip ~ being but a tertiary part of their Game ~ I break down their Attributes pretty much like I would those of a WideOut:
Separation: Getting Open. This encompasses Combat Skills & Fluidity to beat Press, Acceleration or Short Speed, Fluidity and Ricochet in navigating Traffic, Route Running Precision, Deception of Defenders, and Processing Speed and Field Vision for Timing Seams and Open Zones. The way I see it, Separation dwarfs All other Aspects of a WideOut's Job Description in Importance. I consider Separation more important than the other WideOut Aspects combined.
Catch Point Capacity: In Transition or Contested: Hands, WingSpan, Vertical Agility, Combat Skills, and Timing. Timing is of course derivative of Processing Speed and Field Vision, and affects both Transitional Catches and Contested Catches, the latter both in terms of timing one's Jumps and in employing Combat Skills to work free at the right Moment.
Chunk Yardage: An highly overrated Aspect of the Game, I believe, so much so that in fact I didn't even include it in 2016. It is not a negligible Aspect of the Game, so I'm bringing it back, but getting open, catching the Ball, and Moving the Chains are far more crucial to a Team's Success, I believe, than making Splash Plays and getting on ESPN HighLights Reels. Power, Fluidity, Ricochet, Speed, Combat Skills, and Processing Speed/Field Vision all play into Chunk Yardage.
Blocking: It was a Mistake to leave this Aspect ~ my very favorite Aspect of FootBall ~ out'f 2016's Flex End Reports, and I'm very happy to correct that Mistake, evermore. Blocking of course comes down to Power, Agility, Frame, Combat Skills, Processing Speed, and Motor, and further breaks down into In Line Blocking and Open Field Blocking.
Broken down into SubCategories, it'd go something like this:
* Combat Skills
* Field Vision
Catch Point Capacity
Catch Point Capacity
* Combat Skills
* Vertical Agility
* Combat Skills
* Field Vision
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
Separation: Excellent. Considering that Hodges arrived at Virginia Tech just 3 Years ago as a QuarterBack, his exceptional Combat Skills in attacking Press Coverage are remarkable. He exhibits adequate functional Power despite his Height imposing a Leverage Liability on'm against shorter, more compact Opponents. His Command of Lateral Leverage is exceptional, his Paw Positioning is excellent, and he coordinates these beautifully to swat away CornerBacks.
He's not explosive, but possesses adequate Acceleration and sufficient Long Speed to compete. Likewise, his Ricochet out'f'is Breaks and his Fluidity to redirect is competitive. In a word: an extremely average Athlete.
His Field Vision is perhaps the most remarkable Aspect of his Separation Game. He's done a terrific job of translating his QuarterBack's Knowledge of Route Running into a Flex End's. His Processing Speed, quickly and effectively reading and reacting to the Tactical LandScape to consistently anticipate and arrive at the Open Zones is outstanding.
* Update: Exceptional and potentially phenomenal.
Catch Point Capacity: Tremendous. Hodges still plants a FootBall, now and then. His Hands I'd have to mediocre. But his Combat Skills on Contested Passes are exceptional, his Timing is excellent, his Processing Speed and Field Vision has enabled him to save many an errant Pass through last-second twisting, and his Height and exceptional WingSpan of course present an enormous Advantage at the Catch Point, either in Transition or on Contested Passes.
* Update: Impressive and potentially Tremendous. Needs to improve his Hands.
Chunk Yardage: Exceptional. There is nothing remarkable either about Hodges's Power nor his Agility, but his Motor is excellent and his Field Vision is tremendous...and of course Power is relative and Momentum is a Variable: Jamming Hodges at the Line of Scrimmage, when he's at a Stand Still, is one thing. A shorter, more compact Defender has a perfectly decent Chance. But trying to slow down 245 Pounds of Beef, once he's got a full Head'f Steam??
Different Story, there.
* Update: Exceptional, yes, indeed, and with phenomenal Potential.
Blocking: Impressive. To shamelessly quote my own Words: Considering that Hodges arrived at Virginia Tech just 3 Years ago as a QuarterBack, his exceptional Combat Skills in attacking Press Coverage are remarkable. He exhibits adequate functional Power despite his Height imposing a Leverage Liability on'm against shorter, more compact Opponents. His Command of Lateral Leverage is exceptional, his Paw Positioning is excellent, and he coordinates these beautifully.
Mind you, adequate Functional Power and adequate Agility obviously translate into Problems against superior Power and Agility, especially in Pass Protection: He's got the Height to play Tight End, but would get killed, there, playing against Opponents 25-50 Pounds or more heavier than'm. But he'll hold up well enough against MidFielders.
And his Motor and Intelligence give'm a big Edge. Hodges doesn't play like a former QuarterBack. He exhibits a consistently intense Appetite for Combat, a strong Motor, and impressive Combat Skills.
* Update: I'm gonna back that off to Competitive.
I'd describe'm as merely adequate at The Point of Attack. He doesn't always get a lot of Push, though he certainly Seals Off consistently well. It's Behind Enemy Lines where he's exceptional, routinely reading the Tactical LandScape quickly and effectively, stalking his Target patiently, and consistently approaching him in sync with his Runner, consistently getting between him and his Runner, and taking full Advantage of Momentum to drive the Enemy DownField.
I am highly impressed with Bucky Hodges, I gotta tell you. With his being a former QuarterBack and of towering Height, I half expected him to be a lumbering Stiff, a Weakling, and a Contact-Resistent Prima Donna.
Far from it. Bucky Hodges is still learning how to catch a FootBall consistently, but he's fearlesss, and his Game is remarkably well-formed for someone who's been playing his Position for only a few Years.
Kind makes you wonder what former Hokie Logan Thomas might've become.
I see Bucky Hodges as neither overly Powerful ~ though I strongly suspect acute Intrinsic Power in that Frame ~ nor overly Agile, but his Game as a Whole is excellent and potentially outstanding. His capacity to Get Open is excellent, and his Catch Point Capacity is tremendous. And he is a genuine Asset as a Blocker, which is truly remarkable.
Trajectory? Risk/Reward, as you Earthlings put it? Tremendous. For someone to've developed not only his Route Running but his Combat Skills as well as he already has, in 3 short Years, can only be the result of a TruckLoad of Drive and Intelligence: Years of intensive Time & Training and the capacity to translate it onto the Field of Battle.
In other Words: I believe that Bucky Hodges has tremendous Potential and is a very strong Bet to fulfill it.
* Did Hodges murder somebody without my Knowledge?? His Market Value was in the 2nd Round back in January, when I first wrote this up ~ and before his phenomenal Combine ~ yet he slid all the way to the 6th Round!!!
My Assessment is essentially unchanged: He is raw and will need Time & Training to develop into the Flex End ~ possibly the Tight End ~ that he is capable of being, but his Intrinsic Agility is magnificent, his Drive and Intelligence are excellent, and if he can learn to translate his phenomenal raw Agility into Functional Agility on the Field of Battle consistently, his combination of Speed, Fluidity, and Size will render'm one of the most unstoppable Forces in the Game.
I'll update his Market Value to reflect where actually got picked.
Me? I'm not giving an inch on this one.
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!!