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Deion Jones. Remember me mention him?

Discussion in '2016 Draft Archive' started by Vrill, Mar 15, 2016.

  1. After you posted that comment I looked at that tape. Yeah, his lines in the run game were off and his attack was tentative. That might have been a function of SH State's heavy dose of spread option gadgetry. And his tackling form was pretty atrocious, hitting high and grabbing a lot of shoulder pads. He blew a dead-to-rights tackle at midfield on the last play on that tape, hitting high with the guy slipping away for what I guess was the winning TD. Ouch.

    He's looked a lot better in the run game in other tape. He might have gotten a little rip happy that day, without managing to force a fumble. Very bad tackling grade in that game.

    It wasn't all bad. He blocked a FG. He had a big tackle for loss in the red zone later in the game. And SH State, while a pretty bad passing team, only threw in his direction once on a deep end zone throw. It was way off the mark, but he had good coverage. He was doing a lot of signaling in the backfield; I presume he was trusted to make adjustment calls which suggests football smarts. On the tweener spectrum, in this game anyway, the SS coverage component scored a lot higher than drop-in-box hybrid role.
     
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  2. Patriotplayer90

    Patriotplayer90 Cheesehead

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    Right, and even Jack looks
     
  3. andeftw

    andeftw Cheesehead

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    You're comparing Jones' time from his pro day to Lee's times from the combine, which are laser timed and 100% accurate. Pro day times are notoriously faster than those of the combine, so you're not comparing apples to apples. Darron Lee ran faster than Jones when they were on the same field, which is all the proof anyone needs to say he's faster.

    Did I say at any point that I would draft Lee in the first round? Don't think so. On the other hand, in an earlier post you mentioned we might have a legit chance to grab Jones at #27. You'd be okay with drafting an undersized linebacker who can't shed blocks and is a liability in coverage in the first round. This is not my opinion, it's fact based on evaluation of his play. But sure, let's draft a decent athlete in the 1st round to start at linebacker, when he's been a below average player at the same position in college...

    Also, Darron Lee was measured in at 6'1", 232 at the combine. Jones was measured in at 6'1", 222. So, if we want to get really technical, you were wrong even on measurements...

    Your entire argument about the pro-day was his 40 time. You mentioned nothing about on the field drills. A player doesn't jump into the first round when he's a fringe Day 2 talent on the basis of a 40 time. Especially when the most accurate measurement of his 40 time from the combine was slightly better than average and the only upside this guy brings as a prospect is speed.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2016
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  4. captainWIMM

    captainWIMM Cheesehead

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    I think Ragland could turn into a decent three down inside linebacker. While he doesn't possess great speed he performed pretty well in coverage.
     
  5. Vrill

    Vrill Cheesehead

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    Again, why have pro days then? You're taking pro days too lightly. Scouts and GM's seem to think they are extremely important for evaluation and confirmation. Pro days are very much where a players draft stock can rise or fall.

    Deion Jones had 100 tackles last season (his senior year) - Players stocks can rise or fall. And what evaluation? Yours? Some pundits you read? Show me a link where a legitimate NFL scout says these things. Otherwise, I take people like Mel Kiper's opinion with a grain of salt.

    Not exactly. I googled Darron Lee and this came up: https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=darron lee ohio state Notice on the right side it says he is 6'1 218 pounds. Old information or not, that is where I got it at. Kind of like you getting information from reporter pundits on a player and taking their word as gospel.

    Are you an SEC fan? Do you follow SEC Football closely? I do. Deion Jones was a good player for LSU. He had 100 tackles this past season and made quite a few plays for them. Whether or not that translates to the NFL is another story entirely, but that same statement could be said about any player in this draft.

    And Deion Jones' pro day results are right here in bold: http://www.nfl.com/draft/2016/profiles/deion-jones?id=2555162 So I guess NFL.com took his pro day seriously enough to put his pro day measureables up. Something you seem to find insignificant.
     
  6. captainWIMM

    captainWIMM Cheesehead

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    NFL teams use the combine or pro days to confirm what they already saw on tape. If the numbers show a significant variance they go back and re-evaluate the game film.

    You're taking those numbers way too important though.
     
  7. Vrill

    Vrill Cheesehead

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    Which is basically what I already said. Its for confirmation and even more evaluation. Maybe a player wasn't 100% at the combine. Its happened before. Or perhaps they just had a bad workout at the combine, hey, thats happened before too. Pro days are where a player can redeem themselves and improve on what they did at the combine. Its also where a lot of players have had their stocks rise or fall.

    If Pro days were not important, we wouldn't even have them. I seriously doubt NFL teams would waste their time with something that was unimportant with the drafting process. Resources would be better used elsewhere.
     
  8. Vrill

    Vrill Cheesehead

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    Not to mention, there have been many a player (first round talent) that have skipped the combine entirely and just did their pro day. Yeah, not so important I guess. I suppose teams didn't think their measurables at the pro day were accurate, but they drafted them in the first round anyway. Those clueless NFL scouts and GMs :(
     
  9. captainWIMM

    captainWIMM Cheesehead

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    Teams draft players in the first round because of their game tape not for what they do at the combine or pro day.
     
  10. Vrill

    Vrill Cheesehead

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    Then how do you explain the rising and fall draft stock phenomenon? This always tends to happen after the season is over and well into the overall draft process (not just tape) but in the midst of the combine and pro day. So perhaps its a mixture of these things, and not a single explanation.
     
  11. Yes, Pro Days are quite important for several reasons.

    1) At a basic level, a guy who had a tweek or a twinge gets a second chance to show what his peak athletic performance looks like.

    2) All Pro Players have bad days; marginal players have career days. You'd rather not base an athleticism assessment on one day.

    3) Beside what's shown is what the player chooses not to show, be it Combine or Pro Day. I personally look askance at guys who skip specific drills or who skip the Pro Day altogether, standing on his Combine numbers, unless there's a credible injury reason for it. The idea of a guy consciously avoiding showing an area that needs improvement calls for a marked down grade in that area. Even something that might be viewed as trivial, such as a WR skipping the bench press at both the Combine and Pro Day, without an injury justification, tells you something. Don't expect him to block for you. However you judge the value of that, it is a mark down in kind.

    4) Guys who compete at the Combine are given feedback on their possible fits, their strengths, their weaknesses. The Pro Day is an opportunity to take that feedback and show some improvement in areas of weakness over a short time span. That goes to commitment and coachability, no small things.

    5) In some cases, guys take the opportunity to reshape their profile, to tweek the perceived fit with specific intense work on one thing, even if it's shaving a couple of ticks off his sprinting start. As questionable as the value of the sprinter start is in football, a fast 40 time however it is achieved gives some indication of where peak performance may like. And again, perhaps more importantly than the actual number, is the commitment exhibited in working toward improving on the prospective employers' established benchmarks. If one does not like the emphasis on 40 times (or any other Combine metric), don't blame the playa', blame the game. Personally, I don't blame either. The NFL sets measurable targets and wants to see guys work to meet them. It's as much about how a guy works to a goal as it is the actual number.

    6) Though not at issue here, a big, big reason that teams show up en mass to quite a few pro days is the fact that there is pro potential hiding among the players who did not get a Combine invite. Besides all the college core players who didn't quite make the Combine cut, think about all those middle-to-upper round picks coming out of the top college programs, particularly the SEC perennial powers, and the potential talent stuck behind them on the bench, guys who only might have seen spot or rotational play with limited tape. There must be some developmental potential hiding there; pro days are an opportunity for it to make itself known.
     
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  12. I've been meaning to look at his tape, but I've found the 40 time off-putting. I don't know if you're basing his coverage skills on a PFF grade or some other basis, but there's a cautionary element that goes to scheme. If all he was asked to do was cover what's in front of him...check downs and short zone coverage against a bunch of short-pass-ball-control spread offense junk, the opportunity to earn negative-grade plays simply isn't there.

    I'll look at the available youtube tape and tell you what I see.
     
  13. Vrill

    Vrill Cheesehead

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    He is a demon against the run and brings the pain when he hits.



     
  14. captainWIMM

    captainWIMM Cheesehead

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    I don't like players rising because of their performance at the combine or pro day. I'd rather draft guys impressing on tape.
     
  15. Assuming these clips are representative of his play and the scheme, the concerns I expressed in my last post are clearly in evidence here.

    Note that the INT and the jarring pass breakups are within about 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, mostly zone coverage playing between the numbers. There are a couple of coverage plays about 15 yards downfield where he makes outstanding tackles, but after separation was given up. We already get that from Ryan, a player with further development on his schedule. What you don't see is Ragland covering a TE or RB in man coverage down the field or across the field in the intermediate zones, the Packer coverage weakness everybody sees. Can Ragland fix that? These tapes don't tell you that; the opportunity to fail at it was not presented. This is an illustration of why they run 40's at the Combine and why those times are given weight. Picking players is about projection into a scheme and the faster NFL game, particularly where the college game tape doesn't provide enough information.

    If you want an ILB to play within 10 yards of the LOS, this is your guy, truly a first round talent in those terms. I'm guessing he'll be gone to a 4-3 defense where he won't be called upon for much man coverage duty before the Packers get to pick.

    Further, perhaps contrary to concensus as this may sound, I think his talent would be wasted as a run game line banger. Looking at this tape, his strengths show in his read/flow/strike and his outstanding lines. He looks faster than he is because you don't see hesitation or course correction in his lines. This is a guy who can read plays and knows where he's going to meet ball in advance.

    I see him as a strong side/weak side tweener in the 3-4, with 3-down talent limited to particular matchups. You wouldn't mind seeing him on the field for 3 downs against the Peterson Vikings twice per year, for example, even if he might have trouble running down the QB. Then again, you probably would not want him on the field in passing downs against the Forte/Bennett combo of a couple years ago, to provide just one example.

    Ragland is a terrific football player within his speed limitations. Besides the read/flow/strike and the lines, you can make tackling fundamentals training tape out of these clips. But again he's a better fit for the 4-3, and the more zone that D runs, the better.

    That said, I wouldn't cry if the Packers took him, and I'll tell you why. That would indicate the best D-Line fit candidates are off the board; now you really need an ILB in the run game, even if he's a 2-down or perhaps more like 2.5 down guy in this case given matchup dependencies. Barrington can play, but he's not the kind of talent that covers for other deficiencies. While not an ideal fit on the strong side banging the line, he could play there while we hope my optimism for Ryan's development in the passing game comes to fruition, or the Packers take Ragland and then punt on the coverage issue with one of those tweeners in a mid-to-low round for passing downs. Regardless of how the ILB situation shakes out, at a minimum the Joe-Thomas-as-dime-backer "era" should be brought to rapid and merciful end.

    Still, my gut says the scheme fit isn't quite right with Ragland, and history shows Capers is not inclined to make scheme changes to fit one player, no matter how good he might be. While my uneasiness with a Ragland pick is not as pronounced as with the Perry pick, it's an uncomfortable feeling nonetheless.

    Something to consider, an area where I think the NFL has been missing the board, is looking harder at some of the shorter ILBs. The 6' guys get graded down a round or three based on 2 inches of height. How does a guy like Bobby Wagner, who flies around the field when he's not hitting you in the mouth, fall to a "surprise" #47 pick. Without the Senior Bowl, he might have gone third round. There was only one reason: he was 6', not 6'2". Given the long list of requirements at the position, being able to contest a high ball down the seam is somewhat low on the list.
     
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  16. There are plenty of examples of guys flying up the board on Combine work, and then paying off. Fletcher Cox is one example that come immediately to mind, a guy pegged for low 1st. round before the Combine and an excellent Packer fit for that Jenkins replacement. Before the Combine he was on the very short list of best Packer options. Gone by the boards to the numbers.

    Or consider Ansah. An inexperienced, raw talent. Nobody expected him to break out as a rookie; he was a developmental player with a big projected upside that is being realized.

    How about Khalil Mack? Before the Combine, he was being projected as mid-first-round, not a top 5 pick. At the Combine he hit all the athletic and intangible marks.

    A big part of it goes beyond the numbers being put up, even I'd be the last guy to say they're not heavily weighted. Coaches get to do some coaching of these guys, and the GMs in the stands get to watch that and see how they respond. The professionals in the scouting ranks may talk to each other and share impressions. Teams get to talk to them and see what they are about. Attitude and coachability, team-first vs. me-first...those are not things easily discerned from tape.

     
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  17. captainWIMM

    captainWIMM Cheesehead

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    I'm quite sure there are a ton of players who moved up the draft board because of their performance at the combine or pro days who ended up being busts as well.
     
  18. And I'm sure there are at least as many top 15 busts who were projected there before the Combine and were picked there as well. Maybe more.
     
  19. Patriotplayer90

    Patriotplayer90 Cheesehead

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    Bowman is one of the best ILBs in the league and he ran roughly the same 40 time. People are exaggerating his speed limitations .
     
  20. andeftw

    andeftw Cheesehead

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    I've never said pro days aren't useful. They're an opportunity for coaches to work players out and throw some curveballs at them since the prospects already know what's coming at the combine.
    However they're not very useful for testing numbers, since we already have those for a large number of prospects from the combine. The combine is a controlled environment, and everyone faces the same conditions.

    Actually it's not my evaluation, I'm basing it on the PFF grades of his senior season. PFF grades each individual play and Jones has a negative coverage grade. Thanks to his size he also struggles to stack and shed blockers. I'd have nothing against drafting him high if he were a solid coverage linebacker, that's we really need after all. Unfortunately he has not demonstrated that in his play at LSU. Perhaps it is something that he can grown into, but taking a guy at ILB (which is among the least valuable positions in a 3-4) solely on upside in the first two rounds is a huge risk.

    Also, let's keep in mind that I never said Lee is a better prospect, although that seems to be the consensus among pundits as well as scouts. He hasn't played much as a traditional linebacker and he has struggled at times in coverage. He'd also be a risky pick, but the general opinion is he has far higher upside than Jones.

    I'm not taking anybody's word as gospel. Both Lee and Jones were measured at the combine. Lee was 10 pounds heavier. The entire point of the combine is to get accurate measurements for all players. You can say Jones is bigger as much as you want, but the combine measurements are those used by NFL personnel. There must be a reason for it...

    Of course they're on his NFL.com profile, there's a fairly big discrepancy between what he recorded at the combine and what he did at his pro-day, which raises further question marks. Perhaps he couldn't handle the pressure at the combine and it affected his testing numbers.
     
  21. metallicblaze

    metallicblaze Cheesehead

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    The main thing for Combines and Pro Days is to look at how athletic, etc most of the guys are. If teams see guys lighting up the charts that they might not know much about, they go back and look at the tape and try to figure out why he did(n't) do as good as his numbers might indicate. Could be a plethora of reasons like character, motivation, you name it.
     
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  22. captainWIMM

    captainWIMM Cheesehead

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    Mostly agree with your post but the part in bold is just plain wrong. The Packers coaching staff moving their best player there for 1 1/2 years should serve as proof for it.
     
  23. I'm glad you mentioned Bowman.

    He measured 6', 242 lb. at his Combine which goes to my earlier point regarding the NFL bias against short ILBs. He was drafted lower 3rd. round for a reason. Sure, there were some character issues, but there is no question height/length factored into the draft position. Teams want ILBs with at least some length. They want to project their ability to get off second level blocks delivered by all of the the long-armed, big-handed O-Linemen the NFL favors besides being able to contest balls with all of the tall TEs around the league. Length is enough of a bias that nfldraftscout.com had Bowman's primary NFL position projection as OLB, presumably in 4-3.

    SF in particular sees the "market inefficiency" in this conventional thinking: it is better to have a short guy who does not give up separation than a tall one contesting for balls with regularity; it is better to have a guy who is quick off the snap with reliable instincts, taking his line before an O-Linemen can get a clean shot than to have a less quick, more lengthy player who has to fight off clean blocks with regularity. Besides drafting Bowman for ILB against the length bias, note that SF currently pairs Bowman with Wilhoite, another 6 footer. While certainly no star, Wilhoite represents good value as an undrafted player plucked out of the UFL.

    Bowman actually illustrates a number of important considerations, a few of which I already mentioned in the Wagner commentary. Consider the following, with some Ragland comparisons:

    1) While Bowman ran that 4.62 at his Pro Day, Ragland stood on his 4.72 from the Combine, but we need to look at how Ragland might have gotten to that number. Alabama listed Ragland at 258 lbs. That number may have been exaggerated. Or perhaps he dropped 11 lbs. to get where he is on the track. He may have dropped weight to appeal to the NFL need for speed. He wouldn't have been the first. Will you get quite the same player you saw on tape?

    2) Bowman did 26 lifts at the Combine, leaving no doubt. Ragland did not lift at the Combine, and did only 13 reps at his pro day, a WR number. The reports tell us he had a minor shoulder injury at the Combine causing him to skip the bench and that tweek may have lingered into the Pro Day, but it does leave a question mark, particularly with the weight drop.

    3) Bowman ran a quick 6.91 3-cone; Ragland skipped it at the Combine and then ran a slow 7.5 at his Pro Day when asked to show it. A good 3-cone number projects to run-call-to-pass-play adjustment and adjustment to runner cutbacks. Why does that poor agility number not reveal itself in the Ragland highlights? Because he was allowed to play to his strengths at Alabama: apply sharp instincts, get quick into his line downhill, get to the ball without direction change and apply sound tackling technique. Alabama plays a downhill attacking defense, a fit for Ragland's strengths, and it happened to be loaded with talent. That attacking style is hardly a Capers hallmark.

    So here's my problem with Ragland for the Packers, at the risk of repetition. Look at the tape, read the scouting reports, look at the workout metrics; it all paints a consistent profile. Ragland is in the old-school ILB mold: instinctual, quick off the snap, good lines, sound fundamental tackling. It's all about the play in front of him within 10 yards of the LOS. That's a good fit for an attacking 4-3 that plays a fair amount of zone.

    Yet when we consider the consensus bellyaching over the Packers ILB play, in which I am in agreement, it is heavily weighted toward giving up separation and first downs in the passing game.

    Now, we loved (or at least I loved) the physicality and downhill play of Bishop before he got injured. I believe the success of the 2010 defense (or any good defense) is at least somewhat dependent upon having some physical presence in the middle of the field. Bishop, and Collins who could deliver an intimidating shot when the opportunity presented itself, provided that steel. Ragland is that kind of guy while also having the benefit of being a superior football player compared to Bishop.

    But what are you willing to pay for that when the bigger weakness is in coverage?

    Like I said, I wouldn't cry over a Ragland pick if the best D-Line value propositions are off the board, risking that the weight drop/bench lift issue is a red herring. His 2-down tape is awfully good . That the D-Line guys are off the board is entirely possible given how weak the first round value in this draft happens to be at most every other position. If question marks in the D-Line rotation remain, a physical instinctual 2-down or 2.5-down ILB would be enough of a needed complement to take Ragland. Still, the mesh with Ryan doesn't seem optimal. I don't see either as a true line-banger in the Bishop mold...they both look better as read-and-flow guys. On the plus side, unlike the consensus, I'd be willing to bank on Ryan's development in the pass game, with some kind of mid-to-low round SS/ILB tweener for dime and some nickel matchups, and as insurance against Ryan's development stalling out, though the best case for that tweener guy would probably be seeing him pay dividends later in the season.

    Again, back to the point about Bowman (or Wagner for that matter), the market inefficiency is in the 6' players. Is there 3-down potential among 6 footers out there, even among college ILBs projected at OLB as Bowman was? It is worth investigating. However, Thompson/Capers tend to share the bias against short ILBs. I can't think of one under 6' 2" taking the field in the Capers era, with one exception: D.J. Smith at 5' 11" taken in the 6th. round. At least we know they're looking at them.
     
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  24. Poppa San

    Poppa San Levelheaded Staff Member Super Moderator Moderator

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    Nice post. How do these numbers and analysis compare to say AJ Hawk or Nick Burnett. Those players I can recall watching a lot.
     
  25. That's a long story that gets into Packer defensive history, the differences between 4-3 and 3-4, along with the player profiles, but I'll try to keep in succinct...or maybe not. ;)

    First, you have to remember both Hawk and Barnett were drafted pre-Capers into 4-3 defenses.

    Let's start with Hawk. He was drafted as a 4-3 OLB, his natural position. People forget how outstanding his measurables were coming out: 4.47 at his Pro Day at 248 lbs. doing 24 reps at the Combine at the same weight! 40 inch vertical! That's crazy. 6.82 3-cone, almost as crazy for a man this size. 6'1", again more acceptable in the OLB profile than in the ILB bias. He was never a downhill run banger by any means, just as we saw when he moved inside; he was never pegged as a possible 3-4 edge rusher despite the measurables, simply lacking the knack...just a classic 4-3 pursuit-and-cover OLB. And he proved to be a tackling machine those first 3 years. Not too may guys rack up 100+ tackles from that spot.

    Opinion was mixed on those early seasons because Hawk wasn't a splash play guy who would blow up runners or rack up tackles for loss, while he collected only 3 picks and 7.5 sacks over the first 3 years. Again...pursuit and cover was his game and he was pretty darn good at both, if not a big time impact player.

    Now lets look at the 3-4 switch. The classic pairing at the ILB position is the downhill run enforcer with a read/flow/cover backer. Usually they're called "strong side" and "weak side" respectively, or "Mike" vs. "Will" respectively. That's a little deceptive since the better of the coverage backers, i.e., the weak side guy, will line up on the strong side over the TE on passing downs or in other looks.

    Hawk was the weak side or Will, fitting the finesse-over-physicality profile. Fans did not like Hawk making all those tackles 4, 5, 6 yards past the LOS, but to large degree that was his job. Look at 2010, Hawk's best season, with Bishop crashing the line together with an impressive D-Line group...the Hawk tackles were closer to the line with his compatriots doing a good job of slowing runners into the 2nd. level. After that, the tackles were further from the LOS as Hawk's athleticism went into serious decline and the complementary players were not of the same caliber. And in the last couple of years, after Hawk had slowed considerably, he was a liability in the Will coverage role.

    Throughout, Hawk displayed a good football mind and was in tune with Capers array of play calls, no mean feat. And if he was getting too many snaps well past his sell date, at least a small part of that was his selflessness in going along with a position change early in his career away from his natural spot. We can surely call him a "Packer guy".

    Let's look at Barnett. He was drafted to play 4-3 ILB and was pretty fair at it. The athletic measureables were mediocre, but his sideline-to-sideline speed looked better than his 4.69 time. In fact, when he took on Westbrook one-on-one all over the field during that one remarkable game, it made you think he really had developed SS speed and may have missed his true calling. In any event, the guy had 32 reps on the bench at the Combine at 236 lbs. No doubt he packed a wallop and racked up a lot of tackles in the 4-3 where the job was a lot simpler than what was to come.

    I don't know whether it was the change in scheme per se or not being able to grasp Capers' complexities, but the guy looked like a fish out of water in the 3-4. Despite racking up a fair number of tackles in his one year at 3-4 strong side, there were more plays than I wish to recall where Barnett was going one way and the play was going the other.

    There may have been just too much swimming around in his head in the more complex Capers scheme. I'm reminded of Mike Krzyzewski's brilliant insights into the athlete's mind, which on one occasion he compared to a water glass. Over-talking, pouring too much into the glass, dulls the athletic instincts. You can pour in a little water but it's up to to the athlete to top off the glass. My chief complaint about the Capers methodology is he seems to dispense too much from an oversized pitcher, especially with a draft and develop philosophy in place. Long overdue, the simplified play call terminology implemented last season was a welcome accommodation to realities on the ground. But I digress, the point being that Barnett's instincts looked to have been dulled in the more complex 3-4, with the mistake count going up noticeably.

    The other thing about Barnett, something I read after he departed, was that he was known to be quite chatty in the position room, sucking out the air. That's not hard to believe given his chattiness in interviews. As a less than cerebral player, I can't help but think that was not very helpful, with the quantity and quality of water he was trying to pour into his fellow LB's glasses being of dubious value.
     
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