Yeti Tackle ~ Nathan Shepherd ~ Fort Hays State Tigers ~ 6036/315
Old Roles are getting dramatically transformed, and virtually every Front 7 ~ or Front 6!! ~ Defensive Job Description is transitioning into an Hybrid Role where the Defender is asked to excel in multiple Roles and in multiple Fronts.
For that reason, and in order to offer NomenClature that speaks not to archaic, obsolete "Positions", but rather to Skill Sets that accurately reflect the dynamic Changes of the 21st Century Game and the Roles they have spawned, I have undertaken to craft Terminology that is designed to break Skill Sets down as they really are.
Defensive Coordinators have, since Time Immemorial, employed highly creative terminology in devising Defenses and in designating Assignments. In that Spirit, I have admittedly indulged myself considerably in devising the following NomenClature. It is undeniably colorful, but I like to think that there's an underlying Logic, as well:
Yetii ~ Yetis have the Size of Nose Tackles but the WingSpan of Defensive Ends. As such, they are genuine Hybrids, and can conceivably line up anywhere from Tackle to Tackle, across from the Offensive Line.
The Prototype would be somewhere around 6050/325 or so.
Of course, where and how any given Coach chooses to deploy his Players is his Business. Players that I characterize as Yetis may often or even routinely do line up anywhere, on any given Down. My only purpose is simply to identify what I perceive as Skill Sets, to distinguish types, if you will, and perhaps create a universal Point of Reference.
When evaluating Yetii, this is how I break down the Attributes to which I pay most particular attention:
Power: Above all: Core Power. Torso Power is important, but Core Power, from the Knees to the Ribs, is absolutely crucial. All the Torso Power 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, which, I believe, 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: Vertical Leverage, Paw Positioning, Paw Persistence, and FootWork. Above all: Pass Rush Repertoire.
Processing Speed: How quickly and effectively one Reads & Reacts to the Rapidly Roiling Tactical LandScape!!
Motor: Intensity and Stamina: How much Work has been put into Conditioning, and how it manifests itself.
Run Defense: All the Above, applied.
Pass Rush: Ditto.
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 against the Run.
* Drive Power, Rushing the Passer.
* 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.
* Pass Rush Repertoire: Variety.
* Reading & Reacting to Offensive Blocking Schemes with Speed & Precision.
* Field Vision: Finding Targets & approaching them effectively.
Power: 40. Excellent Torso Power but mediocre Core Power.
Agility: 80. Remarkably agile for such a huge guy. Impressive Launch Velocity and Acceleration, and extraordinary Fluidity.
Frame: 75. Excellent Height for Vertical Leverage anywhere on the Line, and a terrific WingSpan.
Combat Skills: 25. A few moves and a few flashes of sequencing, but generally abysmally raw.
Processing Speed: 40. Still mastering the game. Flashes, but very inconsistent.
Motor: 75. Excellent Intensity and Stamina.
Run Defense: 50. Mediocre at The Point of Attack but impressive In Pursuit.
Pass Rush: 40, but that Frame, Agility, and Drive translate to tremendous potential.
Demerit: He turns 25 in October, he's incredibly raw, and of course he played Division 47 FootBall.
As noted above: He turns 25 in October, he's incredibly raw, and of course he played Division 47 FootBall.
He's also highly motivated ~ a guy who had to initially drop out'f College for financial reasons, who worked for two years, got a spot at Fort Hays as a Walk On, and who plays the game with remarkably consistent intensity.
He played mostly at Nose Tackle at Fort Hays, but his mediocre Core Power and excellent Agility strongly suggest that he'll be far more effective at, say, 34 End and 43 3 Tech Tackle, where he can put his agility to work.
I've gotta slash prices, here, because Shepherd's game is so damned raw that this could be a James Harrison type of deal, where Harrison didn't really get rocking until he was 29!! Of course, Harrison himself then produced an extraordinary 5 campaign run of excellence, sustaining a top shelf level of play well beyond normal, and quite possibly made possible precisely because he'd accumulated so few miles in his early years...But that's the exception, not the rule.
Shepherd is by all accounts intense, focused, and very good at translating coaching into practice.
What's more, he is universally reported to've excelled at The Pro Bowl Practices against far better competition than he'd faced in Canada. This not only shatters Level of Competition concerns, but is also very encouraging in terms of that capacity to translate coaching that'll be crucial to his development, particularly in terms of mastering Combat Skills.
All things considered, I like his chances of developing his game to the level. And the combination of that tremendous Frame and that outstanding Agility potentially translate into a tremendous force, against both the Run and the Pass.
What we've got here, I think, is a Beast level talent ~ a clean 1st Round talent ~ with a pretty strong chance of successfully developing into all that he can be...but one who's not likely to reach full throttle delivery of the goods until he and his team have missed out on most of his Prime Time years. This bizarre reality is further convoluted by the aforementioned James Harrison Factor, if you will: by the distinct and somewhat quantifiable possibility that ~ like Harrison himself and Offensive Guard Evan Mathis, who didn't get it all together until the year he turned 30 ~ Shepherd is a legitimate candidate to not flourish until that time when most players pass their prime...and to then hit his prime and sustain it for 5 years or so.
But even in that Best Case Scenario, that wouldn't pay off nearly as well as it would when a team drafts a player, trains'm for a year, and then gets 3 or 4 years of high quality production on a Rookie Contract before then getting him, at full price, of course, for his Prime Years, thus generally getting 9 or 10 years of Prime Time at an overall excellent cost.
Nathan Shepherd is a fascinating prospect, and a good bet...provided that you discount for what you can actually, reasonably project to get as your Return On Investment. He's a 1st Round Talent...but not a 1st Round value.
Thank you so very much, Draft BreakDown, without whom my Work would be virtually impossible.
Please also note, Fellow FootBall Fiends: These CyberScouting Reports are not intended as predictions of success or failure, but as assessments ~ ludicrously amateurish assessments ~ of potential success. FootBall is a rough and often unfair business, and many a worthy Prospect has fallen far short of his potential, sometimes not because of his own failings, but because of those of coaching, scheme, timing...or because huge investments were made on other Prospects.
In other words: If any of my Super Dooper Deeper Sleepers ever fail to fulfill their vast potential, I’m confident that it goes without saying that it wasn’t their fault…or mine!!...Yes, I think that I'm being funny.
In other words: Caveat Emptor, Fellow FootBall Fiends!!
Enter at your own risk!!