Offensive Guard ~ Ryan Kelly ~ Alabama Crimson Tide ~ 6040/312
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 Offensive Guards:
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 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 Blocking: Power, Agility, Combat Skills, Processing Speed, and Motor.
Pass Blocking: Power, Agility, 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.
* 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. Reading Defensive Schemes quickly and effectively, and finding 2nd Level Targets.
* Motor ~ Intensity and Duration.
* Power ~ Drive Power to project Power in the Running Game.
* Agility ~ especially Acceleration DownField or to the Flank.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
* Power ~ Anchoring Strength to reject Power in the Passing Game.
* Agility ~ especially Fluidity to Mirror the Pass Rusher.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
Agility: Exceptional Launch Velocity, excellent Acceleration, and, most crucially, tremendous Fluidity in Close Combat.
Combat Skills: Outstanding. Excellent Paw Power, remarkable Paw Speed & Paw Positioning. Tremendous WingSpan.
Intangibles: Excellent. Great Motor and outstanding Field Vision.
Run Blocking: Exceptional. Kelly is more agile than powerful, I believe, which I translate into'is projecting as a better Pass Protector than Run Blocker, but were he to move to Guard ~ which is how I'm writing this up, regardless of how long the Odds are against that happening ~ his impressive Power would become a more significant Strength.
Pass Blocking: Outstanding and potentially phenomenal. Tremendous Fluidity, exceptional Power, outstanding Command of Blocking Schemes, terrific Mechanics, and a tremendous WingSpan: A Menu for genuine Greatness.
My Rationale for projecting Ryan Kelly and all taller Centers to Offensive Guard is simple: They're too damned tall.
Playing 1000 Snaps a Year at 6040, usually facing Defensive Tackles that are 2 to 4 Inches shorter than you, and thus earn the Leverage Advantage on every single snap, can grind your back into powder.
I consider it Bad Business to play a guy at any position other than his optimal Position, if you can possibly help it.
Ryan Kelly clearly has the Processing Speed, the Launch Velocity, the Fluidity, and enough Power to grind out a strong and potentially an excellent, prospectively an outstanding Career as a Center, no Argument from me.
But I believe that his being 6040 will somewhat lessen his Efficacy because of the Leverage Disadvantage against his most common Foes ~ Defensive Tackles. And I further believe that that very same Liability greatly increases his Chances of losing additional Efficacy to Wear & Tear and of disrupting and shortening his Career due to Back Injuries.
And indeed: Kelly himself has already missed multiple Games to Injury on more than one occasion.
I don't expect in a Zillion Years that whoever drafts Ryan Kelly will check in with me, first, but if they did, I'd tell them that he is remarkably well equipped, by dint of his Launch Velocity, his Fluidity, his Power, his Motor, his remarkable Intelligence, and his Frame ~ especially that outstanding WingSpan ~ to develop into a tremendous Run Blocker ~ in Power and especially in Zone, but above all, most invaluably: in both ~ and a potentially magnificent Pass Protector.
Simply put, I see Kelly as an excellent Center Prospect but as a great Offensive Guard Prospect, and even though I'm not nearly lunatic enough to imagine that my Sage Advise will be heeded, I continue, as I always have, to write up these Scouting Reports based not what I expect Teams to do with them, but on what I think they ought to.
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!!