Lion ~ Ronald McBryde ~ Connecticut Huskies 6045/304
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 Lions, 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, and Processing Speed.
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.
* Paw Power ~ The Power & Speed of the initial Punch.
* Paw Velocity ~ How active the Hands are.
* Paw Positioning ~ It's all about Angles & Leverage.
* Frame ~ Above all: WingSpan.
* Processing Speed ~ Field Vision. Rapidly Reading & Reacting to the Offense.
* Motor ~ Intensity and Duration.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
* Combat Skills
Agility: Exceptional and potentially Awesome. McBryde's Launch Velocity and Acceleration are impressive and his Fluidity's extraordinary. And as with his Power, I believe that his Agility Numbers at his Pro Day ~ his 3 Cone and Short Shuttle in particular ~ strongly suggest a considerable gap between what is already exceptional Latent Agility and the hitherto untapped Functional Agility that he might attain with a couple of Years of Time & Training with Pros.
Combat Skills: Impressive and, yes, potentially Tremendous. McBryde's Mechanics are pretty raw, but his Paw Power is excellent, his Persistence is impressive, and his WingSpan is utterly phenomenal.
Intangibles: Fair to Middling. His Motor is Impressive, and you can certainly conceive the BasketBall History on'is Resume, but his Field Vision is pretty shaky right now. He only just started starting as a Senior, and it shows.
Run Defense: Impressive and potentially Tremendous. He's got all the raw Power & Agility, but he needs a lot of Work on his Combat Skills and on his Diagnostic Field Vision before he can even approach his Potential Impact.
Pass Rush: Ditto.
Ronald McBryde has a lot of Work to do, both in the Mechanics of Combat, and in the Tape Room, learning and ultimately mastering the hundreds and indeed thousands of Variables that comprise The Rapidly and Relentlessly Roiling and Boiling Tactical LandScape. But my God, is this kid gushing with Power, Agility, and WingSpan!!
The Gutters are littered with the Corpses of Prospects with such glittering Talent who never managed to put it all together, and as the Honorary Head of The InterNational House of Trajectory, I consider it my Sacred Duty to inform you, Fellow FootBall Fiends, that my Crystal Ball is cloudy regarding the matter of Mister McBryde's Intelligence & Drive.
I have no particular reason to doubt him, you understand: I simply do not have a strong Reading, one way or another. He is a Developmental Project, and it is of great concern to me that it took him until his Senior Year with the Huskies to earn a starting Gig, but as I'm fond of saying: We all learn at different Speeds, and in any case McBryde got an extremely late beginning, so I certainly don't consider it a Red Flag that it took him that long. We also mature at different Speeds and begin to do so at different times, and it seems that this is something that he's struggled with as well, but I believe it considerably reflective of Good Character that McBryde himself is the Source of that Struggle: I thought he was very forthcoming in his InterViews about the mental and emotional Aspects of his Journey, and plenty Intelligent.
As far as Projection, I believe he's got the Potential to develop into an exceptionally Stout Run Defender and an explosive Pass Rusher, and just as effective in the 34 as a Defensive End or in the 43 as a Defensive Tackle.
He could do one or the other, or he could do both, and if he's got the Intelligence and the Drive and he gets the right kind of Coaching, there's no question in my mind that this kid could develop into a Rampaging SuperStar.
I will, as they say, be following his Career with Great Interest.
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!!