Offensive Tackle ~ Tyler Johnstone ~ Oregon
Ducks ~ 6054/300
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 Tackles:
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: 2013: Impressive Speed and phenomenal Fluidity. 2015: Mediocre but improving over the course of the Year.
2015 Combine: Impressive Speed and phenomenal Fluidity.
Combat Skills: Competitive. Exceptional Persistence. Mediocre Positioning and Sequencing.
Intangibles: Excellent. A terrific Motor and exceptional Field Vision and Processing Speed.
Run Blocking: Johnstone projects far, far better in Zone, of course, and if his Fluidity and Speed return to 100% ~ or've already done so ~ the combination of his Agility and his capacity to rapidly read and react to the Tactical LandScape render'm excellent Potential, depending on how well he develops his Core Power and his Combat Skills.
Pass Blocking: Should he indeed come all the way back to his 2013 Form ~ before a pair of ACL Injuries derailed'm ~ or prove to've already done so, his WingSpan and Agility mean immense Potential as a Pass Blocker.
I'd be the last guy to try to tell you that drafting a Prospect who's had 2 ACL Injuries is by any means safe...But people often do come back from Injury and recapture their Former Form. A double ACL is a Red Flag, absolutely. But it is by no means the Death Knell of the Prospect's Career. I can't help but wonder if the Patriots having cut Dominque Easley a few short months ago after drafting'm in the 1st Round a couple Years ago had some effect on Johnstone's Market.
Well, it's a Risk. Absolutely. And Johnstone's got issues with both Combat Skills and, above all, with Power, in addition to the questions about whether or not he's going to recover his Former Form of 2013.
But he's a demonstrably Intelligent and Drive kid, as his 2013 demeanor in particular ~ when he was in top shape, rust-free, and confident ~ exhibited. I have high Confidence that he'll develop the Combat Skills he needs.
His Power may always be a Liability, but even of that I'm not sure: He put on 20 Pounds of Beef while he was recovering in 2014, and it takes Tons of Time & Training to acclimate oneself to such a Change and translate Intrinsic Power into Functional Power. And his Vertical & Broad Numbers at The Combine were excellent.
And speaking of the Combine: His 3 Cone Time was phenomenal. It continues to amaze me that the vast majority of, maybe all Earthlings evidently remain oblivious to how incredibly common it is for an Athlete to require 15-18 Months or so to recover their Former Form...and that during those 15-18 Months of course they appear a Shadow of themselves.
I've seen it 1000 Times.
And yes: Sometimes they never recover their Former Form...But Tyler Johnstone played better and better over the course of the Year ~ having sustained a nasty Injury in August, by the way ~ and then exploded at The Combine.
My Money says that he's 100%.
Injury Risk? Sure. More so than others? Somewhat. Maybe. Science is still working on Odds. Ironically, it actually helps my Argument that Expectations are so low now that Johnstone almost certainly isn't going to be starting very soon, which naturally will allow his Frame to deepen and develop its Strength, rendering his Recovery even more complete.
As I see it, Tyler Johnstone is a Prospect who, yes, I believe that an Health Discount applies to, whose Stock is hurt by dubious Power, as well, and further though moderately reduced by his raw Combat Skills.
However, his Agility ~ and I do not say theoretical Agility ~ is phenomenal.
And his WingSpan is excellent.
Tyler Johnstone has the Potential to become an excellent Run Blocker for a Zone Scheme Team, and he has the Potential to become an extraordinary Pass Blocker. I believe that the Chances are very good that he'll develop enough Power to compete, and that he'll invest all the Time & Training needed to develop those Combat Skills, as well.
In other words: If his Health sustains, I believe he's got a good Chance to become a Top Shelf Offensive Tackle.
He could be one of the Draft's greatest Bargains ~ maybe the biggest Bargain of'm all.
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!