Fighting Irish ~ 6060/322
Such is the case with Defensive Ends. NFL Defenses have become more'r less evenly divided between "43" Teams and "34" Teams. Far more importantly, though, the line between "43" and "34" is rapidly becoming a very fuzzy one.
Teams are increasingly going with Hybrid Theory Concepts, and the result is that many "Positions" are becoming Hybrids.
Defensive Ends are at the very crux of this changing LandScape. Traditional "34" Ends are just as likely to be employed as 3 Tech Tackles, traditional "43" Ends are just as likely to be deployed as "34" Flank Defenders ~ "OutSide LineBacker", to you Earthlings ~ and both are increasingly being asked to morph between Roles.
As such, I consider the old notion of pretending that these guys all go into one "Defensive End" Category to be silly.
And I also find the idea of sub-categorizing them as "34" Ends and "43" Ends, while a step in the right direction, to be ridiculously inadequate: It ignores the fact that half these guys won't even be deployed that way, and it ignores the fact that a rapidly increasing number of Defenses are going to ask them to morph between Roles.
Lion is going to be my term for the 280 Pound Plus Defensive Ends who could project to Tackle.
Dragon is going to be my term for the 270 Pounders or less.
Within the 270's or in any unusual cases, it'll be a Judgement Call.
Lions will get drafted either to play "34" End, "43" Tackle...or both.
Dragons will get drafted either to play "34" Flanker, "43" End...or both!!
I should also add that some Prospects generally considered to be Defensive Tackles will fall under my definition of a Lion. Indeed, the way the Strategic & Tactical LandScape is evolving these days, it is of course not uncommon for an erstwhile Tackle to get kicked out to Defensive End. But of course what each Coach does with his Personnel is his Business.
My Purpose here is to try to categorize Prospects by Type, and I believe that there is substantial difference between Prospects who could play both End and Tackle and Prospects whose Skills Sets suggest that they do.
These latter are genuine Hybrids ~ Lions ~ and it is my Hope that those of you who honor my Site with your Visits will find my efforts to distinguish the one type from the other ~ wrought with Peril though it be!! ~ to be useful to your Purposes.
When evaluating Lions, these are the Attributes to which I pay most particular attention:
Power. Above all: Core Power. Upper body Strength 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 Lineman to project Power in the Running Game and to reject Power in the Passing Game. And those Players who invest the time and effort to develop superior Core Power are far likelier to enjoy sustained good Health and stay on the Field.
Agility. Lateral 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. Mechanics. Launch Velocity, Paw Power, and Technique.
Intangibles. Diagnostic Capacity, Processing Speed, and Motor. How effectively he masters Spatial Diagnostics & Angles, how rapidly he recognizes and implements Blocking Schemes based on changing Defensive Tactics, and of course: Drive. How badly he wants it. These are of course difficult things to assess, but it's crucial to at least try to.
Agility. Mediocre. He looks good, coiled up before the Snap, but immediately pops straight up at an alarming rate. He plays Too High Too Often, which suggests either bad form or a considerable lack of Core Agility or Fluidity. Observing him attempt to redirect quickly enough to impact Plays strongly suggests that it's the latter. As most Agility generally derives from Core Agility, it is no great surprise that his Lateral Velocity is lacking, and his Launch Velocity is deficient.
Combat Skills. Mediocre. Flashes Paw Power or active Hands, but his performance is spotty and raw.
Intangibles. Deficient. Often the last man Off the Snap, and exhibits poor Field Vision. Good Motor, though.
When you look at the 2012 Game Tapes, he looks great. Great, lengthy Frame, great musculature...And yet as you play those Games a few times ~ it takes a long time for things to sink in, you see: Processing Speed is a trait that I admire but don't possess ~ it dawns on me that this guy looks far better standing still than he does once the Tape rolls.
I am mindful of his Youth, and of the Hernia Surgery that presumably impacted his performance, this Year.
And I am certainly far more focused on Potential ~ Trajectory ~ than on Resume, which is only a component of Trajectory.
It will be interesting to watch how it goes with him over the next few months. Has he been hard at work in the OffSeason, burning off the 20 Pounds that he gained after the Surgery, now that he's presumably healthy and has a chance to?
Will he arrive at the Combine in his previously exemplary shape, and dazzle during the Positional Drills?
Will his performance suggest that he has the Will and the Capacity to fully develop his Power, and, even more crucially, his Agility? If he does dazzle in this manner at the Combine, I may seriously reconsider my Evaluation.
But as things lie, I am simply not perceiving anywhere near enough either of physical Potential or of the likelihood of his capturing it to warrant the lofty Valuation that the Market currently applies to'm.
Thanks, as always, to the extraordinary Work by the men of Draft BreakDown!!
Almost immediately after I published this Scouting Report, it was reported that Tuitt had gotten himself in viciously great shape, reducing his Weight to about 300 or so. As this was precisely and indeed specifically the possible event that I'd alluded to when saying I might attenuate my Report, I did precisely that, increasing my previous 4th/5th Round Grade.
Consensus Market Value