SpeedBack ~ Wendell Smallwood ~ West Virginia
Mountaineers ~ 5104/208
I've come to believe that any HalfBack that doesn't bring a Passing Game element to the BattleField is...incomplete.
Hence, the term "FlexBack" ~ although quite cool, I believe!! ~ short-circuits the Evaluation Process.
As to how I break them down, I expect that the terms are pretty self-explanatory:
PowerBacks ~ HalfBacks who do their best Work between the Tackles..
SpeedBacks ~ HalfBacks who do their best Work outside the Tackles.
The PowerBack prototype would be about 5115/220 or so.
The SpeedBack prototype would be about 5010/200 or so.
Those are gross oversimplifications, of course, and many HalfBacks will manifest Attributes of both styles. Indeed, Power and Speed ~ better yet: Agility ~ are crucial to the Success of either kind of HalfBack. But I believe that it advances the discussion and better serves my Fellow FootBall Fanatics if I make an effort to distinguish between types.
This is how I break things down, when evaluating all HalfBacks:
Power: Above all: Core Power. Upper body Power is important, but lower body Power, from the Knees to the Ribs, is absolutely crucial. An HalfBack's Capacity to break Tackles is more about Core Power than anything else.
Agility: Launch Velocity, Fluidity, Acceleration, and Ricochet. Long Speed is all well and good, but at the end of the day, it is Gravy. What wins Championships is Moving The Chains. And Moving The Chains is accomplished far more consistently by the guys who exhibit the Agility ~ and the Focus ~ to consistently pick up 5 and sometimes 10 Yards at a time.
Processing Speed: Diagnostic Velocity. Field Vision. That ethereal Capacity to Rapidly Read & React to the Rapidly Roiling & Boiling Tactical LandScape...and to foresee and envision Lanes developing before they actually do.
Blocking: Having an HalfBack who doesn't Block effectively is like having 10 Men on the Field of Battle. Most HalfBacks just coming out'f College are mediocre Blockers, but this is a crucial Aspect of the Game that they'll need to master.
Receiving: Whether he be a PowerBack or a SpeedBack, an HalfBack that can effectively present a genuine Threat in the Passing Game dramatically increases his Team's Options on any given Play. The more dynamic the Threat, the more valuable to'is Team on the Field of Battle, whether he's just slipping out'f the BackField or splitting out Wide.
Broken down into SubCategories, it'd go something like this:
* Core Power is most of it. Tyrannosaurus Rex would've made an Hell of an HalfBack.
* Torso Power doesn't hurt, though.
* Launch Velocity
* Long Speed
* That ethereal Capacity to foresee and envision Lanes developing before they actually do.
* Combat Skills
* Processing Speed
* Catch Point Capacity
Agility: Extraordinary. Tremendous Acceleration, exceptional Fluidity, terrific Ricochet, and outstanding Long Speed.
Field Vision: Effective. He usually anticipates seems correctly.
Blocking: Marginal. Solid Field Vision but weak Core Power and mediocre Combat Skills.
Receiving: Competitive, but with the Potential to become exceptional. Slippery, but a raw Router with mediocre Hands.
He's pretty lanky for an HalfBack, built far more like a SlotBack than a SpeedBack. And that is very evident in his lack of Core Power. Were he a more developed Router, in fact, I'd designate him that way.
Indeed, I expect that if he succeeds at the next level, a larger portion of the Balls he gets will be Receptions.
He's a remarkable Athlete, but it seems unlikely to me that he's going to develop into an effective Blocker, and if so that will probably cripple his playing time: An HalfBack that can't block effectively imperils his QuarterBack's Health.
If I'm right about that, that means that the only way that SmallWood earns a lot of Snaps ~ or least the most likely way ~ is by developing as a Receiver. As an HalfBack, he is for all effective purposes a Flex Wing ~ a "gadget" Player.
And as a Receiver, he's got a ways to go before he's ready for Prime Time.
There's definite Potential, though, for'm to develop into the kind of HalfBack who racks up 750 Yards on the Ground and another 750 through the Air, with the right Offense. It'll take Time & Training, mind you.
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!!