SpeedBack ~ Christian McCaffrey ~ Stanford Cardinal ~ 5112/203
I've come to believe that any HalfBack that doesn't bring a Passing Game element to the BattleField is...incomplete.
Hence, the term "FlexBack" ~ although quite cool, I believe!! ~ short-circuits the Evaluation Process.
As to how I break them down, I expect that the terms are pretty self-explanatory:
PowerBacks ~ HalfBacks who do their best Work between the Tackles..
SpeedBacks ~ HalfBacks who do their best Work outside the Tackles.
The PowerBack prototype would be about 5115/220 or so.
The SpeedBack prototype would be about 5010/200 or so.
Those are gross oversimplifications, of course, and many HalfBacks will manifest Attributes of both styles. Indeed, Power and Speed ~ better yet: Agility ~ are crucial to the Success of either kind of HalfBack. But I believe that it advances the discussion and better serves my Fellow FootBall Fanatics if I make an effort to distinguish between types.
This is how I break things down, when evaluating all HalfBacks:
Power: Above all: Core Power. Upper body Power is important, but lower body Power, from the Knees to the Ribs, is absolutely crucial. An HalfBack's Capacity to break Tackles is more about Core Power than anything else.
Agility: Launch Velocity, Fluidity, Acceleration, and Ricochet. Long Speed is all well and good, but at the end of the day, it is Gravy. What wins Championships is Moving The Chains. And Moving The Chains is accomplished far more consistently by the guys who exhibit the Agility ~ and the Focus ~ to consistently pick up 5 and sometimes 10 Yards at a time.
Processing Speed: Diagnostic Velocity. Field Vision. That ethereal Capacity to Rapidly Read & React to the Rapidly Roiling & Boiling Tactical LandScape...and to foresee and envision Lanes developing before they actually do.
Blocking: Having an HalfBack who doesn't Block effectively is like having 10 Men on the Field of Battle. Most HalfBacks just coming out'f College are mediocre Blockers, but this is a crucial Aspect of the Game that they'll need to master.
Receiving: Whether he be a PowerBack or a SpeedBack, an HalfBack that can effectively present a genuine Threat in the Passing Game dramatically increases his Team's Options on any given Play. The more dynamic the Threat, the more valuable to'is Team on the Field of Battle, whether he's just slipping out'f the BackField or splitting out Wide.
Broken down into SubCategories, it'd go something like this:
* Core Power is most of it. Tyrannosaurus Rex would've made an Hell of an HalfBack.
* Torso Power doesn't hurt, though.
* Launch Velocity
* Long Speed
* That ethereal Capacity to foresee and envision Lanes developing before they actually do.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
* Catch Point Capacity
Agility: Sensational. His Speed DownField is impressive, and that's his weakest point. His Acceleration through the Hole is awesome, his Fluidity is extraordinary, and his Ricochet out'f'is Cuts is simply magnificent.
Field Vision: Astonishing. McCaffrey's capacity to consistently and effectively anticipate Seems, and to throttle up or down in perfect Sync with those Opportunities is sensational. His Processing Speed is simply amazing.
Blocking: Marginal. An impressive Motor, but poor Combat Skills.
Receiving: Magnificent. Great Hands. Outstanding Tracking & Timing. Excellent Vertical Agility. Tremendous Route Runner for an HalfBack, and utterly terrifying after the Catch. As a Flanker, alone, I'd give'm a 1st Round Grade.
Bonus Round: Amazing Ball Security Stats, based entirely on outstanding Form.
Thus, a Prospect of McCaffrey's Size ~ so the Thinking goes ~ can't be expected to play the 1000 Snaps or so that an HalfBack with a beefier Frame could be, and therefore imparts substantially less Value to'is Team.
And all that, of course, is supposing that it's wise to ever ask an HalfBack to take on more than 200-250 Carries a Year.
What I find flawed about that Thinking is that an elite WideOut could get drafted Top 10, even though the loftiest Projections might be that he make 100 or so Catches a Year, and maybe rack up 1500 Yards or so, whereas an elite SpeedBack perhaps might rack up, say, 750 Yards on the Ground on 150 Carries, and another 900 on 75 Receptions.
Is the WideOut more valuable because he's out there for, say, 1000 Snaps, to the SpeedBack's 666 or so? Absolutely. But so, too, is the SpeedBack greatly more valuable because of the Hybrid Threat that he presents.
On a Power Scheme Team, the SpeedBack is likely to be the #2 Back ~ the Change of Pace Back, yes.
But on a Zone Scheme Team, he's likely to be the #1 Back.
Terrell Davis, Ladies and Laddies. 207 Pounds.
Christian McCaffrey brings a sensational combination of Field Vision and Agility to the Field of Battle, but his Trump Card, like that of Dalvin Cook, is his phenomenal Core Power. McCaffrey can run Between the Tackles.
And his Receiving Skills are awesome.
I would indeed give McCaffrey a 1st Round Grade, based on his WideOut Resume, alone.
But as a guy who could thrive on a Zone Scheme Team, and potentially rack up 200-250 Carries for 1000-1250 Yards, and pile on another 75-100 Catches for 1000 Yards or more?? A guy who oozes Intelligence and Drive??
I'll go a bit higher.
Maybe two bits.
Pay the man.
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!!