Lion End ~ Vincent Taylor ~ Oklahoma State CowBoys ~ 6024/304
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:
Lions ~ This is my term for Defensive Linemen with the Size of a smaller and faster Defensive Tackle and the WingSpan of a Defensive End. Like the Grizzlies, they can line up at End in a 34 or at Tackle in a 43, or just about anywhere in either Formation, and conceivably play either 1 Gap or 2 Gap. The Prototype would be about 6050/300 or less.
Of course, where and how any given Coach chooses to deploy his Players is his Business. Players that I characterize as Lions 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 Lion Ends, 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: Endurance and Drive: How much Work has been put into Conditioning, and how it manifests itself.
Run Defense: All the Above, applied.
Pass Rush: 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: Mediocre. Impressive Torso Power but marginal Core Power. He plays Too High, Too Often.
Agility: Effective. Impressive Launch Velocity. Mediocre Fluidity. Impressive Acceleration. Classic Straight Line Guy.
Frame: Outstanding. Tweener Height for Tackle or End ~ sufficient for either. Phenomenal WingSpan.
Combat Skills: Impressive. I'd say that he's only got an adequate Pass Rushing Repertoire at this point, but excellent Paw Velocity, impressive Lateral Leverage, effective FootWork, and excellent Paw Persistence.
Processing Speed: Competitive. Yeah, that means that I didn't get a strong Sense one way or the other!!
Motor: Marginal. Adequate Intensity, but awful Stamina.
Run Defense: Mediocre. Taylor has the Launch Velocity and Combat Skills to make some Noise in the BackField, and the Acceleration, though inhibited by his Fluidity, to make a Play or two In Pursuit, but I believe that his lack of adequate Core Power could render'm a lasting Liability at The Point of Attack. He might be the guy that you run at.
Pass Rush: Effective and with exceptional Potential. Taylor's Power is a Liability, but his Launch Velocity, Torso Power, and Closing Speed, enhanced by impressive Combat Skills and an outstanding WingSpan, could make an Impact.
When a Lineman with Taylor's Launch Velocity, Torso Power, and Paw Velocity attack an inferior Foe, they can look like a Hall of Fame Talent...The Problem, of course, is that those Opportunities are few and far between.
Against competent Lineman ~ especially competent Linemen with decent Core Power, which'll be most'f'm ~ I believe that Taylor has a reasonable Chance of becoming a competitive Pass Rusher...But I expect very little in the Run Game.
There's definitely some Juice, there. Taylor's combination of Launch Velocity, Torso Power, Combat Skills, and that terrific WingSpan translate to substantial Pass Rushing Potential...It's just that I expect'm to make most'f'is Beans against mediocre Offensive Linemen, even then, and to be a Liability against the Run. But he's got Value.
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!!