Harper was a guy I wanted to write up this Spring, but simply ran out of Time to do so, not only for him but for a few other guys, most notably Karlos Williams and Thomas Rawls. It's too late to write up either, who've already flashed Success, but Harper has actually not yet played a Snap, and when the Patriots announced earlier this Week that we were calling'm up from the Practice Squad, it occurred to me that there's no earthly reason why I can't complete his Scouting Report!!
It may be late ~ outrageously late!! ~ but nobody'll be able to say that I wrote it After The Fact!!
SlotBack ~ Christopher Harper ~ California Bears 5106/182
Split Ends are usually the bigger, taller WideOuts who line up in the X Position, on the Line of Scrimmage.
SlotBacks are usually the quicker, smaller WideOuts who line up at the Y Position, off the Line.
FlankerBacks are usually the faster WideOuts who line up at the Z Position, off the Line.
The Split End prototype would be about 6030/225 or so.
The Flanker prototype would be about 6000/200 or so.
The SlotBack prototype would be about 5010/195 or so.
However a given Coach chooses to deploy the Soldiers at his disposal is of course entirely up to him, and most WideOuts will see Snaps at multiple Positions and in multiple Alignments, but I believe that it is valuable to categorize WideOuts in terms of classic Skill Sets, to better define the differences in the kind of Impact they might wield at the next level.
This is how I break things down when I'm evaluating Split Ends, Flankers, and SlotBacks:
Separation: Getting Open. This encompasses Combat Skills & Fluidity to beat Press, Acceleration out'f the Blocks, Fluidity and Ricochet in navigating Traffic, Route Running Precision, the capacity to deceive Defenders, and Field Vision for Timing Seems and Open Zones. All other Aspects of a WideOut's Job Description are dwarfed by this one.
Catch Point Capacity: In Transit or Contested: Hands, WingSpan, Vertical Agility, Combat Skills, and Timing.
Navigation: How well he Navigates the Field after the Catch: Power, Agility, Acceleration, Long Speed, and Field Vision.
Broken down into SubCategories, it'd go something like this:
* Combat Skills
* Field Vision
Catch Point Capacity
* Combat Skills
* Vertical Agility
* Long Speed
* Field Vision
Catch Point Capacity: Deficient. An awful combination of a short WingSpan, deficient Core Power, inconsistent Focus, and poor Hands. He does however consistently manifest outstanding Field Vision, Tracking, and Timing.
Navigation: Outstanding. His moderate Long Speed precludes much Big Play Potential, but his outstanding Field Vision, Tracking, and Timing produce a lot of Full Stride Catches and their consequent Momentum, and his combination of tremendous Fluidity, impressive Ricochet, and exceptional Acceleration produce consistent extra Yardage.
I believe that if Christopher Harper continues to refine his exceptional Routing and applies himself to more consistently focusing on the Ball at the Catch Point, he has the Potential to become an outstanding SlotBack.
The Field Vision, the Agility, and the Routing skills are all there.
And while he's no Zoomer, neither is he slow, so he can develop his Core Power, there's no reason that he can't regularly be deployed as a Flanker to shake things up. His Strength, though, is clearly in the Short & Intermediate Zone.
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!!