Lion End ~ Ronald Blair ~ Appalachian State
Mountaineers ~ 6020/285
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:
Lions ~ This is my term for Defensive Linemen with the Size of a smaller and faster Defensive Tackle and the WingSpan of a Defensive End. Like the Grizzlies, they can line up at End in a 34 or at Tackle in a 43, or just about anywhere in either Formation, and conceivably play either 1 Gap or 2 Gap. The Prototype would be about 6050/300 or less.
Of course, where and how any given Coach chooses to deploy his Players is his Business. Players that I characterize as Lions may often or even routinely 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 Lions, 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 upper body strength in the world still fails if you can't dig in your heels. But Core Power enables a Defensive Lineman to project Power in the Passing Game and to reject Power in the Running 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 stiff and lumbering out there.
Combat Skills: Paw Power, Mechanics ~ Hand Speed & Positioning ~ and of course: Frame.
Intangibles: Processing Speed and Motor. Processing Speed or Diagnostic Velocity is about how quickly and effectively one Reads & Reacts to how the Rapidly Roiling Tactical LandScape effects Blocking Schemes, and Motor is about Endurance and Drive: How much Work has been put into Conditioning, and how it manifests itself.
Run Defense: Power, Agility, Combat Skills, and Processing Speed.
Pass Rush: Power, Agility, and Combat Skills.
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 in the Pass Rush.
* Fluidity, above all things: Core Agility & Flexibility makes everything possible.
* Launch Velocity ~ Speed into Contact off the Snap.
* Acceleration ~ Short Speed or Quickness.
* Frame ~ Arms, Hands, and above all: WingSpan.
* Field Vision ~ Reacting to the Tactical LandScape: It's all about Angles & Leverage.
* Paw Positioning ~ It's all about Angles & Leverage.
* Paw Persistence ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* FootWork ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* Processing Speed ~ Field Vision. Rapidly Reading & Reacting to the Offense.
* Motor ~ Intensity and Duration.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
* Combat Skills
Agility: Exceptional. Blair's Straight Line Speed is infinitely better than his Fluidity, and those who've previously honored my Site for even a paragraph's Worth probably know that I value the Latter immensely and'm often scoffin' at the Former...But I Play The Ball As It Lies, and often make Exceptions to Themes ~ I have very few "Rules" ~ and when somebody's Launch Velocity is as explosive as Blair's, I gotta respect that. Don't ask the poor Bastard to change direction if you want to be pleased with the results, but Blair's Get Off is extraordinary, and it renders him extremely dangerous.
Combat Skills: Exceptional and potentially outstanding. Ostensibly too short for Defensive End in any Front, but his WingSpan is outstanding, his Persistence is excellent, and his Mechanics are impressive.
Intangibles: Remarkable. Impressive and improving Field Vision. Excellent Motor. Tape Room Rat.
Run Defense: Potentially exceptional. Tremendous Stout. Deficient Fluidity limits his Range, but he's a ferocious Student of the Game with oodles of Power, impressive and improving Processing Speed, and outstanding Acceleration.
Pass Rush: Potentially extraordinary. Blair brings an exquisitely rare Fusion of a Leverage Advantage yet with Length from The Edge, and the Power, the explosive Launch Velocity, and the remarkably well developed Combat Skills with which to exploit these Advantages...and both the Intelligence and the Drive to develop these into a dynamic Threat!!
Normally, a guy with Blair's FrankenSteinesque Fluidity would inspire me to offer a 7th Rounder not to have'm on my Team.
But we're talking about a phenomenal Fusion of Power and Launch Velocity.
And we're talking about outstanding Intelligence and Drive.
"Trajectory > A Philosophical Formula that calculates a Prospect's Potential & Risk, based on perceptions of Talent, Intelligence, Passion, and Work Ethic: Talent x Intelligence x Drive = Potential/Risk."
I see Ronald Blair as a potentially dominant Run Defender and terrifying Pass Rusher at End in an Odd Front...and as an equally potentially terrifying as a Pass Rushing 3 Tech in an Even Front...And I see the Chances of him of attaining his extraordinary Potential ~ please reference my Trajectory Formula, Patent Pending ~ as far higher than most.
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!!