PowerBack ~ Derrick Henry ~ Alabama Crimson Tide ~ 6025/246
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
As I see it, though, the vast majority of the more explosive Booms came well into a Play or at the end of it, and way DownField, after Henry'd had a Chance to gather a full head of steam and bring all that Weight to bear with Momentum driving his Force. That's Good Fun and all, but real Power on the BattleField, as I see it, is the ability to defeat Power and to project and impose Power on your Foe, behind, at, and just beyond the Line of Scrimmage.
In other Words: real Power, as I see it, is Power that aids its Owner in Moving The Chains. And in that regard, Henry's Power is impressive, yes, but as with many Prospects, his Torso Power is more impressive than his Core Power. At the Point of Attack, I simply don't see anything near the dynamic, destructive Power that I read about.
Agility: Marginal. Here, too, I will of course diverge dramatically with most of the rest of the Universe, as I am wont to do. As most will tout Henry's electric 40 Yard Dash Time ~ 4.54 ~ which is flat out astonishing for a guy who totes around 246 Pounds of Beef, they will roll their eyes at my perspective. But I of course don't give a Rat's Ass about 40 Times.
What I care about is Acceleration, Fluidity, and Ricochet, and I see sluggish Acceleration, mediocre Fluidity, and absolutely awful Ricochet. I hear much of his terrifying Break Away Speed, and I have no doubt that on those Plays where he cuts loose and gets the Train rolling, he'll tear epic Swaths of Destruction...But how often will they happen?
Field Vision: Exceptional. A terrific fusion of Processing Speed and Patience.
Blocking: Adept. Impressive Power and marginal Agility. Good Motor. Magnificent WingSpan.
Receiving: Marginal. Used sparingly, so his Route Repertoire is raw. He is greatly limited, as well, by his marginal Acceleration and general lack of Agility. And his WingSpan is sensational, but his Hands are awful.
Mind you: I won't pretend that it isn't a lot of Fun, believing that I see what most other do not.
Whether or not I'm right will of course play out over the Years to come.
Despite his sterling and fearsome Reputation, Derrick Henry does not appear to me be even close to the Prospect that he is just about universally considered to be ~ albeit not without some divergence among Earthlings about his Value.
I see him as a physical Specimen who will quite likely produce some exciting HighLight Reel Runs.
And I'll even go so far as to agree that if the CowBoys were to draft'm and let'm run behind that magnificent Offensive Line of theirs ~ which is certainly a distinct Possibility ~ he could produce tremendous results.
But, then: Who couldn't?
The Value of an HalfBack is not in what he might do under Optimum Conditions.
PlayOff FootBall seldom produces Optimum Conditions...And it's not what a Player can do under Optimum Conditions, but what a Player can do after New Years Day, when The Only Games That Really Matter are played...that matter.
And after all: There's only 1 Chance in 32 that he ends up with the CowBoys.
I just don't see the allure.
I don't place a lot of Value on an HalfBack who, say, runs it 20 Times for 100 Yards, but gets 80 of those Yards on one Snap.
I want a guy who'll consistently crank out 4 or 5 Yards, sprinkle in some Chunk Yardage, and Move The Chains.
And I don't see Derrick Henry as that guy.
I don't see'm as this Bruiser who's gonna wear down Defenses and then pulverize them, as I've read'm described.
I say it was the Alabama Offensive Line that was wearing Defenses down.
I see Derrick Henry as an HalfBack with impressive Power, but with Agility Issues that are likely to neutralize his Power far more often than is generally accounted for, I believe: You cannot bring your Power effectively to bear if you're unable to consistently get in position quickly enough to do so. That could be a severe Liability.
Add to that his difficulties changing direction quickly and decisively, and we could have a recipe for Disaster.
Frankly, I see a guy who is sensational if you can gash open an Hole for'm and let'm run straight DownField. Once he gets a full head of steam going, he is a genuine Terror, at 246 Pounds and a 4.54 40.
But I simply don't see a lot more than that to his Game.
I think he's going to be beset by serious Issues cranking out Yardage consistently, either between the Tackles or outside'm, and while he's an adept Blocker, he's a very shaky Receiver.
Needless to say: I'm going way Off The Grid on this one.
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!!