Offensive Tackle ~ Cameron Erving ~ Florida State Seminoles ~ 6054/312
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 Offensive Tackles:
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 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 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.
* 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. 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: Exceptional. Impressive Launch Velocity, excellent Fluidity, and outstanding Acceleration.
Combat Skills: Deficient. Inconsistent Paw Power and shaky, inconsistent Mechanics. This, however, worries me very little, in light of the Adaptations he's been asked to make over the last 3 Years. And the Frame is optimal for the gig.
Intangibles: Extraordinary. I don't presume to know Cameron Erving, his Work Habits, his Intelligence, or his Passion. I can only extrapolate based upon what I do know, and what I know is that when he was asked to effect a dramatic change in Role in 2012 ~ from Defensive Tackle to Offensive Tackle ~ he implemented it with such astonishing Excellence and preposterous Speed that he immediately earned the starting gig!! And that, frankly, tells me that all I'll ever need to understand about his Work Habits, his Intelligence, and his Passion. Cameron Erving is a Force.
Run Blocking: Extraordinary and trending towards Awesome. Erving, even already, exhibits tremendous Drive Power and outstanding Acceleration DownField and to the Flanks, yet I believe he will get even better in the Years to come.
Pass Blocking: Impressive and trending towards Excellent. I don't perceive that his Anchoring Strength is as developed as his Drive Power, but it is certainly adequate and will likely improve considerably, and his Fluidity is excellent.
I'm quite confident that Cameron Erving would make a fine Center, but the man is about 6050 in height, and Yankee Theory states that that is too tall for a Center: The closer you are to the FootBall when it's snapped, the squatter you need to be, and 6050 is nobody's definition of squat, unless you shoot Hoops for a living. And even that is debatable.
I probably value Center more than anyone, but I simply believe that Centers taller than 6030 or so are burdened by a Leverage Liability that ultimately impedes not only upon their Efficacy but upon their Endurance.
Centers need to be squat.
Cameron Erving has the Length, the Frame, and above all the phenomenal Agility...to play Tackle.
He could play Center, and perhaps very well...But it'd be a Misappropriation of Talent.
As a Center, he could be pretty good, I think...if his back holds up over the Years.
But as a Left Tackle, he could be extraordinary.
Yeah, he took a large step back this Year ~ you might say he "overset".
But there is an Ebb & Flow to things: Ascensions are rarely attained in a straight line.
Cameron Erving stoned Victor Beasley in 2013 and in 2014 Victor Beasley roasted Cameron Erving, so the general perception, based on that ~ and other Games, mind you ~ is that Erving was overrated, last Year.
I don't think so.
Much of what I do ~ and what the Professionals do, I strongly suspect ~ is to attempt to extrapolate in The Ether ~ to infer Trajectory based on Tape, Speculation, and other Mercurial Sundries. It is truly a Fusion of Art & Science.
Then, again: I seriously doubt that the Professionals think in those terms.
But maybe they ought to.
Cameron Erving seemed, to these eyes and to those of many others, to be a potentially extraordinary Left Tackle Prospect a Year ago. Since then, he has regressed, been asked to switch to Center, and, perhaps inexplicably, thrived.
Most people are naturally enough now grading him as a Center. I respect that.
I, however, still see'm as a Left Tackle Prospect, because I believe that his Skill Set is optimal for that Role. And I believe that his Resurgence, even though at another Role, is a definitive Sign that what I've felt all along is True: Erving wasn't doing anything more than going through a Transitional Stage ~ A Funk, if you will ~ and has now emerged.
The Risk, here, from my Perception, is that he's going to drafted as a Center. But that's not my Business. My Business is to grade'm as I see'm, and my views on Cameron Erving haven't fundamentally changed since I wrote'm up Last Year.
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!!