Being that I will be at NFL Training Camps nearly every day, I want to take a few moments each day to break down a new player or two that I am relatively unfamiliar with (i.e. a guy that I haven’t worked with before). So in addition to the time that I am spending there analyzing my own players I am going to put out some content including insight regarding what types of things I am see popping out at first glance with some of these other guys.
It should be noted that most of the time I would extensively dissect player’s movement during game analysis which would include frame-by-frame breakdown to truly get an idea of what’s happening when he moves. Thus, I am going to likely miss a lot with these very brief evaluations based on my visual analysis of the guy playing live. Obviously, with the extent of detail that I usually go into with analysis of a player’s strengths and weaknesses, if I was doing this in preparation for working with the guy I would take the time to watch an extensive amount of game-film to see him play in multiple situations. This will be a limitation during camp practices as there are only so many plays that you get a chance to see from each guy.
Today, I elected to breakdown new Vikings wide-out, Cordarrelle Patterson. Patterson (or Flash as he likes to be referred to) caught my eye both on Friday and Saturday in the unpadded practices. Today he happened to be a little quieter throughout the day but it’s easy to see how this kid has been named Flash in the past. He is bigger than I expected and put together pretty well…probably very close to his reported 6’2”, 220ish type range.
That said, in most acceleration patterns off of the line (in the first 1-3 steps) he doesn’t always seem to take full advantage of his existing motor potential. He sits back too neutrally/vertically in his stance for my liking and this doesn’t allow him to deliver the force he has available down into the ground in these first few steps. He does however seem to have very good reaction skills (and I saw him against several tiers of DBs) at the line which allows him to get some early separation. Once he gets moving (after those first 3 steps) it appears that he can really burn when he wants to as he hits his 2nd-4th type gear speeds. Could be perfect from a returning standpoint and from much of the buzz out of ‘Kato he seems to be a candidate for that role. All in all, I think he ran somewhere in the low 4.3’s range at the NFL combine back in February and it’s easy to see that this speed will translate to a good deal of football game-speed. He definitely has some explosiveness to him; I think it will just take a bit for him to get accustomed to applying those speed-strength qualities in an improved fashion in the first few steps as that is where speed and burst in the NFL is really defined. In college ball, you can get away with a few wasted steps there but on Sundays if a guy is on your hip at that point you likely are not going to be open.
Multi-directional, change of direction-type actions
He is very smooth in cuts and breaks but sometimes seems to be a little too smooth/gliding at these times to really be violent in his cutting/deceleration actions. His center of gravity/center of mass gets a little high in the last 1-2 deceleration steps before a break or a cut and then his outside foot in the cut gets a little too close to his vertical line of force. This all results in him not getting the best re-acceleration angle out of the break but he is deceivingly quick out of most breaks anyway (though I believe that with more time, development, and proper preparation he could improve upon those characteristics). In nearly all movement applications (linear acceleration/deceleration and changing direction) he has a tendency to get a little too much cross body arm action as well as a little too long of range of motion (i.e. too much shoulder flexion/extension).
Now, I should mention that it’s normal that on the first day of pads in the NFL for a guy to always be a bit culture shocked. This happens for most individuals even though they have been playing football for their entire lives. However, this new stimulus is always enough to change movement patterns ever so slightly by adding a great deal of variability to tasks that they have done countless times throughout their careers within levels of football at lower qualifications (i.e. college). I will be very interested to see what CP84 can do as time passes over camp.