SpeedBack ~ Kenneth Dixon ~ Louisiana Tech
BullDogs ~ 5100/216
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: Tremendous. Moderate Long Speed, but outstanding Acceleration, terrific Ricochet, and phenomenal Fluidity.
Field Vision: Extraordinary. Consistently Decisive, consistently correct, and generally excellent Timing.
Blocking: Competitive. Mediocre Drive Power. Decent Combat Skills. Tremendous Motor.
Receiving: Outstanding. Impressive Router. Tremendous Agility in Navigation. Terrific Field Vision. Exceptional Hands.
DeMerit: He Fumbles. His Mechanics need Work, there.
Watching Dixon put his extraordinary fusion of Field Vision and Agility to work as he navigates the Tactical LandScape is Pure Joy. Sure, he's playing a Lower Level of Competition, but those Moves would work on any level.
But indeed it's not just the Moves but themselves but his incredibly acute capacity to rapidly read and react to the live Field of Battle and make those Moves decisively and effectively, often making multiple Defenders miss.
Most SpeedBacks don't possess great Power, and Dixon is no exception, but while he certainly lacks Drive Power to drive Piles, he possesses considerable Anchoring Strength to thwart Power. Very rarely does he get tackled by just one Defender. In fact, he kind of reminds me of a recent SuperBinky of mine, Jay Ajayi, in that way.
And his Potential in the Passing Game is immense.
As a Blocker, he's not too impressive, but a kid with his extraordinary Drive ~ which is fully evident on Tape and universally corroborated ~ and his Intelligence ~ also crystal clear on Tape ~ will certainly become at least competitive.
And as a Receiver, he displays impressive Routing, exceptional Hands, and an outstanding combination of Field Vision and Fluidity. I don't believe that it'll be too long before he develops into an enormous Force.
Fumbling and Ball Security is an Issue, but that is something less intrinsic than a matter of Mechanics. In EarthSpeak: He just needs Coaching, Timing, and Training, and I have every Faith that he'll implement it successfully.
This kid was a Beast at Louisiana Tech...And it says here that he's a damned good Bet to be a Beast in the NFL!!
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!!