Offensive Center ~ Johnny Caspers ~ Stanford Cardinal ~ 6030/297
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.
Frame: Vertical Leverage, Hands, Arm Length, and WingSpan.
Combat Skills: Horizontal Leverage, Paw Positioning, Paw Persistence, and FootWork.
Processing Speed: How quickly and effectively one Reads & Reacts to the Rapidly Roiling Tactical LandScape!!
Motor: Endurance and Drive: How much Work has been put into Conditioning, and how it manifests itself.
Run Blocking: Applying it all: Power, Agility, Frame, Combat Skills, Processing Speed, and Motor.
Pass Blocking: Power, Agility, Frame, 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.
* Vertical Leverage. Height is crucial, but it's actually better, I believe, to be an Inch shorter than an Inch Taller.
* Hands. The larger the better, generally, but compact is never a bad Attribute in The Trenches.
* Arm Length. Absolutely crucial. He who boasts the longer Arms initiates Combat.
* WingSpan. Arm Length + Torso Width. A more complete Measurement.
* Lateral Leverage. Angles. Getting Square or better with the Target.
* Paw Positioning ~ It's all about Angles & Leverage.
* Paw Persistence ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* FootWork ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* Reading & Reacting to Defensive Schemes & Stunts quickly and effectively.
* Field Vision: Finding Targets & approaching them effectively.
* Power ~ Drive Power to project Power in the Running Game.
* Agility ~ especially Acceleration DownField or to the Flank.
* Frame ~ especially Vertical Leverage.
* Combat Skills.
* Processing Speed.
* Power ~ Anchoring Strength to reject Power in the Passing Game.
* Agility ~ especially Fluidity to Mirror the Pass Rusher.
* Frame ~ especially WingSpan.
* Combat Skills.
* Processing Speed.
Agility: Competitive. His Launch Velocity into'is Stance in Pass Protection and into'is Surge in the Running Game is usually pretty quick. His Fluidity to Mirror in Pass Protection and to redirect in the Open Field is adequate. And his Acceleration to the Flanks and to the 2nd Level to make holes in the Running Game is sufficient.
Frame: Effective. Caspers has the Right Height for optimal Vertical Leverage at Offensive Center, to which Position I am projecting him. He's played mostly Right Guard at Stanford, and having the WingSpan of a natural Center, as he does, sometimes left him at a severe Disadvantage against the sprawling WingSpans of his Foes, when he'd find'mself matched up against a Lion, a Dragon, or a Yeti...But his WingSpan should be fine against Grizzlies and Wolves.
Combat Skills: Impressive. Caspers exhibits impressive Command of Lateral Leverage, almost always seeming to try to get Square or better with'is Foe, though that was not always possible. His Paw Positioning has become effective, too, Casper usually attacking his Opponent's Frame. Sometimes he's clutching and grabbing the Perimeter, but that's indicative more of his WingSpan Liability against lankier Foes, than of Poor Paw Positioning, I believe.
His FootWork has also become effective, in that he's become much more consistent at continuing to work his feet around to sustain Lateral Leverage. And his Paw Persistence has become exceptional.
Processing Speed: Horrible. In the Huskies Game in particular ~ the Cardinal got destroyed, that Day ~ Caspers exhibited horrifyingly bad Judgment, both in Pass Protection, where he Double Teamed the only Defender that his Right Tackle could've possibly blocked, and thus allowed another Defender to rumble right past'm to deliver a Sack that set the tone early in the Game...and in the Running Game, where he repeatedly took bad Angles on approaching Targets.
Motor: Impressive. A strong Motor and equally impressive Endurance.
Run Blocking: Competitive and potentially Exceptional. Caspers has a long way to go in developing his Processing Speed and Field Vision, though I understand that he's Doing The Work, and his Effort on the Field and to condition himself support that Assertion. As it is, his excellent Power gives him terrific Potential at The Point of Attack on a Power Scheme Team, and he's got sufficient Agility to be effective Sweeping, Trapping, and rumbling DownField.
He just needs to figure out where the Hell he's going, is all!!
Pass Blocking: Competitive and potentially Exceptional. Same Story. He's got the Power and enough Fluidity to Mirror to excel in Pass Protection. The question in my Mind is if he has the Kind of Mind that will be able to translate what he's learning onto the Field of Battle quickly enough and effectively enough to combat what his Foes are doing.
It really comes down to whether or not he's got the Kind of Mind that will be able to translate what he's learning onto the Field of Battle with the Speed & Efficacy to Read & React effectively to what his Foes are doing.
So far, I see very little Evidence of that. But that doesn't mean that he isn't capable.
This is a Stanford Man we're talking about, after all.
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!!