Center ~ Austin Blythe ~ Iowa HawkEyes
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 Centers:
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.
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: Impressive in all regards: Launch Velocity, Fluidity, and Acceleration.
Combat Skills: Competitive. The Dynamic here is startling, in that Blythe's WingSpan is very short, to the extend of being an enormous Liability, yet his Paw Persistence is outstanding and his Mechanics are exceptional.
Intangibles: Excellent. Impressive Field Vision, a relentless Motor, terrific Versatility in College, and awesome Endurance.
Run Blocking: Despite his impressive combination of Power, Agility, and Mechanics, Blythe'd probably be a big Liability on a Power Blocking Scheme Team, because his deficient WingSpan cripples his Functional Drive Power. But on a Zone Blocking Scheme Team, his Field Vision and Agility and outstanding Combat Skills would be an Advantage.
Pass Blocking: Likewise, his Anchoring Strength, while perhaps less compromised by his shorter WingSpan, would none the less be a substantial Liability in a Power Scheme, but less so with the Tactics of Zone. Of course having one's Foes consistently wield a Reach Advantage that generally allows them to make First Contact makes for a touch Tactical Environment, but Blythe brings more than enough Agility, Tenacity, and Combat Skills to compete.
In Short: When Blythe is manned up in a Power Scheme, the Odds do not favor'm.
But on a Zone Blocking Scheme Team, where Tactics rule over individual Battles, Blythe could make a substantial Impact.
Not only are his Processing Speed and Agility optimal Fits for Zone, but his Functional Power would actually be far more effective, because he'd routinely be able to meet his Opponents in Space or at oblique Angles, where his exceptional Combat Skills can be brought to bear to better Advantage. This would be especially true on Running Plays.
That small WingSpan will always be a large Liability, but Blythe demonstrably possesses plenty of Intelligence and Drive, which goes a long ways in all Aspects of FootBall, and especially in The Trenches. And matched up in a Zone Blocking Scheme, if that's where he ends up, I believe that he'd have a very real Chance to develop into a competitive Starter.
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!!