Bandit End ~ Shilique Calhoun ~ Michigan State Spartans ~ 6042/252
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:
Bandits ~ This is my term, derived from Defensive Schemes, for Players with the WingSpan for the Defensive Line yet who, unlike Dragons, lack the Size to play there regularly, because they can't be expected to Anchor against the Run.
They are thus the right Size though a bit tall to play MidFielder and can generally do so, but I believe are optimally employed as Wild Cards, deployed all over the Formation from Snap to Snap, usually in the murky, shifty region between the Defensive Line and the MidFielders, usually standing up, and generally giving no clue as to their Intentions.
I believe that the Bandit, whatever he's called in a given Formation, stands at the very EpiCenter of the disruptive Changes that Defensive Formations are undergoing today. Their unique combination of Size & Speed offers precisely that Wild Card Variable that I believe is potentially priceless for Defenses to compete and indeed to excel in the incessantly and rapidly evolving Strategic LandScape of the 21st Century. The Prototype would be around 6050/245 or so, I'd say.
As the ultimate Defensive Hybrid, Bandits could quite conceivably Rush the Passer, Blitz the Run, or Drop into Coverage on any given play, and from virtually any alignment on the Line or in the BackField. They won't anchor against the Run very effectively, they won't overwhelm with Power in their Pass Rush, and they're not built to Turn & Burn with WideOuts in Coverage, but they are in fact optimally built to conceivably compete effectively in all three Facets of the Game.
Of course, where and how any given Coach chooses to deploy his Players is his Business. Players that I characterize as Bandits 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 Bandits, 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, Navigating Traffic, Processing Speed, Motor, and Tackling.
Pass Coverage: Agility, Processing Speed, and Catch Point Capacity.
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
* Navigating Traffic
* Processing Speed
* Processing Speed
* Processing Speed
* Catch Point Capacity
* Combat Skills
Agility: Impressive all around, with nice Launch Velocity and Closing Speed, and impressive Fluidity.
Combat Skills: Adept and with exceptional Potential. Calhoun's Repertoire isn't what I'd call Impressive, but it's well on the way, and his Paw Persistence is excellent. His WingSpan is excellent, too. He just needs to keep working.
Intangibles: Competitive. Mediocre Field Vision. Impressive Motor.
Run Defense: Mediocre. Unless he loads on 15 Pounds or so of genuine additional Beef, he'd be best deployed in Space, as a Sam or preferably a Will in an Odd Front, or as a Bandit, roaming here and there as Bandits do. Otherwise, I'd have to drop my Grade even lower. However, as a Bandit ~ as a Roamer ~ he could potentially become a Force in Pursuit, as his combination of Fluidity, Speed, and potentially exceptional Combat Skills could be an enormous Problem for Offensive Tackles off the Edge. That's his best Match, as he lacks the Power to set the Edge as an End in an Even Front.
Pass Coverage: He has intriguing Potential, here, for while his Field Vision is unimpressive, his Agility is not.
Pass Rush: Coming from the 2nd Level as a Bandit, Calhoun has the Launch Velocity, the Closing Speed, and the Fluidity to develop into a Force, especially if he continues to develop his Pass Rush Repertoire, which shows signs of potential Excellence. His Persistence bodes well in that regard, and he's got an excellent WingSpan, as well.
Bandits are by definition too tall to play the traditional MidFielder ~ that "LineBacker", to you Earthlings ~ and too light to play the "traditional" Dragon, who deploys at Sam or Will in an Odd Front and at Defensive End in an Even Front.
In traditional terms, the Bandit has no Position.
But with The Rise of Hybrid Defenses, there are all sorts of uses for a Bandit, in the hands of wise Coaches.
I've read where Shilique Calhoun would be best deployed as a Defensive End, but I emphatically disagree. If he lays on an additional 15 Pounds or so of Beet, maybe. But as is, his Strength is not Strength: It's Speed and Fluidity, and for him to excel, he needs Space. A Bandit is by nature a Wild Card, deployed all over the Field, and that's his perfect fit.
Mind you: This is a Bandit we're talking about, not a Dragon. The difference, basically, is about 20 Pounds of Beef, and it's also Years of Time & Training with that Beef on your Bones, getting used to your Capabilities on the BattleField.
Deploying him as a Sam in a traditional 34 would probably be a Disaster, as they could run on'm all day long.
However, as a Will in a traditional 34, he might just work out well, as that Role of course calls for more Pass Rushing and less Run Defense than the Sam does. Not his best match, I think, but he'd have Potential for Success.
I do like'm best as a free-roaming Bandit, where he'd usually be rushing the Passer or often dropping into Coverage on Passing Downs and is more likely to pursue or penetrate than to defend The Point of Attack on Running Plays.
He's already 24, which costs him Value, but there's less reason to assume that he's already at or close to'is Ceiling than in most such cases, as he's a relatively late arrival to the Field of Battle, being a former Hoopster who only joined the BattleField in High School. And I like his Motor. I believe that he'll make the most of his Potential.
As to what that Potential is: He's got an intriguing combination of Speed, Agility, and what I believe will likely develop into exceptional Combat Skills, which, deployed in Space as either a Bandit, a Will, or a combination of Roles, gives him Potential Impact not only as a Pass Rusher but as Run Defender as well...though not a The Point of Attack!!
His Power is indeed a Liability, as is his Processing Speed, but the latter is probably residual from being a late arrival on the GridIron, and his mentality persuades me that this will continue to improve with Time & Training.
His Age is a Liability, too, though, as is the Risk attendant to the advisability of converting him from Defensive End to Bandit.
All things considered, I come up with a Prospect with moderate Risk and exceptional Potential.
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!!