Dragon End ~ Tarell Basham ~ Ohio BobCats
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:
Dragons ~ This is my terminology for Players who may've played either Defensive End or what you Earthlings call "OutSide LineBacker" in College, and who in any case possess the Size to player either at the next level. They would generally be deployed as Ends in a 43 or as "OutSide LineBackers" in a 34, and have even been known to get deployed as Interior Rushers in the Nascar Package. The Prototype would generally be somewhere around 6050/265 or so.
Of course, where and how any given Coach chooses to deploy his Players is his Business. Players that I characterize as Dragons 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.
Dragons in a 43 are Defensive Linemen, but Dragons in a 34, for instance, are off the Line and may be asked to drop into Pass Coverage from time to time, so that capacity ~ observed or inferred is going to be part of my Evaluations.
When evaluating Dragons, 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 Anchoring Strength against the Run and impressive Drive Power in the Pass Rush.
Agility: Impressive Launch Velocity, Fluidity, Acceleration, and Closing Speed.
Frame: Tremendous. Outstanding Frame for the Job and an excellent WingSpan.
Combat Skills: Marginal, yet with excellent Potential. He's got a terrific Motor, but it doesn't translate into Paw Persistence or FootWork, his Paw Positioning is mediocre, and his Lateral Leverage is awful. His Pass Rushing Repertoire is embryonic, too. He needs a Ton of Time & Training, but he's not dumb, and he's highly motivated.
Processing Speed: Competitive. Better at Reading & Reacting with Speed & Precision in the Trenches than in the Open Field: Effective Processing Speed, mediocre Field Vision. Impressive Assignment Discipline.
Motor: Tremendous. Outstanding Intensity and excellent Stamina.
Run Defense: Impressive, and with tremendous Potential. He's got the Power, the WingSpan, and the Gap Discipline to develop into a Force at the Point of Attack, and the Range and the Motor to be an Impact Player In Pursuit. He needs a whole lot of Time & Training to develop better Field Vision, though, and his Combat Skills need lots of Work.
Pass Coverage: Competitive, and with exceptional Potential. He has the Fluidity to develop into an exceptional Mirrorer, and the WingSpan to make an Impact at the Catch Point. He just needs a lot of Time & Training.
Pass Rush: Competitive, but with excellent Potential. Basham's fusion of Launch Velocity and Power, combined with that terrific WingSpan and his impressive Closing Speed, translate into a potential Impact Player.
And there it is!! Tarell Basham brings impressive and balanced Core and Torso Power, impressive all around Agility, that terrific WingSpan, and tremendous Drive and Discipline to the Field of Battle, balanced against which are his very raw Combat Skills, Pass Rushing Repertoire, and Field Vision. He exhibits all the classic lack of Development that isn't shocking, coming from a Divsion 74 Prospect, but I believe that his Drive and Discipline are his best Attributes.
In short: he'll need Tons of Time and Training to develop those raw Talents and evolve into the tremendous Run Defender, excellent Pass Rusher, and even exceptional Pass Defender that I believe he's got the Potential to become, but I believe that the Chances are very strong that he has the Intelligence and especially the Drive to do precisely that.
* Update: Gonna back'm off an half Round ~ the WingSpan didn't measure as well as I'd expected.
But I still see'm as a Bargain.
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!