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The Barwinian Theory of Football Evolution

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by mayoclinic, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. SeymourTrophies

    SeymourTrophies Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    #93 Jersey

    I found myself beating the dead horse that is the need for an edge athlete and put myself in Draft Forum timeout.

    Ansah has caught my eye. Maybe, BB jumps at a player instead of possible future value twice in a row, but I realize BB doesn't come in saying "I want to trade". Ansah shows everything you could see in Jones and adds some nastiness that is just old testament mean. I think the love of JPP comparisons will drive him up people's boards as draft season goes on. Unless we can spread rumors about him to bring him into Hernandez territory :D. Processing speed (to steal Mayo and Grid's term) is clearly above average and he's a bull, but hands look decent and motor is good.

    Margus Hunt is meh to me. Gholston (MSU) is a guy I'd like to read more into but from what I've seen, he's a pin the ears back kind of guy. I think with a defense full of read and react guys, he could be okay and a specialist could certainly help, but he does a lot of running first and asking questions later.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2012
  2. IllegalContact

    IllegalContact Pro Bowl Player

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  3. stelfans

    stelfans On the Game Day Roster

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    Im with you. My hope is that his stats this year make him fall to us.
     
  4. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    He was on my short list for the Pats going back to the beginning of May:

    http://www.patsfans.com/new-englan...-2013-prospect-thread-page3.html#post3034940 (see post #23)

    I also said that he'll end up being as good as Lotulelei and Hankins in the long run.
     
  5. patsfaninpa

    patsfaninpa In the Starting Line-Up

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  6. State

    State In the Starting Line-Up

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    #70 Jersey

    I remember that. He mentioned the equipment needed for football versus the basketball courts in the neighborhoods. And I remember in that conversation him mentioning Charles Barkley and wondering what he could have done as a DE in football.

    Very convincing at the time.

    And a lot of these kids don't want to go through the rigors that football brings when basketball seems an easier transition to the pros.

    Could you imagine the freakish athleticism and size that guy for the Miami Heat could present as a TE, making Gronk seem slow and small in comparison, 6'9" 270?
     
  7. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #3 Jersey

    Woot!! Fantastic find, Brother Penn!! :rocker:
     
  8. State

    State In the Starting Line-Up

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    #70 Jersey

    He had another great bowl game against TCU, just like he did the previous year against Georgia.

    His size is 6'7" nearly 280.

    He's probably coming out with a baby son to support. But he shouldn't. Like his former teammate Jerel Worthy, he's terribly inconsistent. Dominant when he wants to be, which last season was few and far between. Really the dominance came out that I can recall versus Wisconsin and TCU. Against Michigan he was totally controlled by Taylor Lewan.

    I don't think he goes any earlier than the second round, but his inconsistency and rash of mental mistakes, which he did mostly as a younger player, are red flags to me.

    But the Detroit native, and related to Jets bust Vernon Gholston (his uncle I think), does have a cool Red Wings tattoo on his left bicep.
     
  9. manxman2601

    manxman2601 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    #24 Jersey

    Just read this. Fellow Brit. I want!

    Edit: Scratch that. He's not very good.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2013
  10. patsfaninpa

    patsfaninpa In the Starting Line-Up

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    Footwork is lacking for sure. Don't want Tom Brady's health in his hands. If you could get him in the 7th fine. He'd be our 9th OL for a couple of years. Scar would be licking his chops to get his hands on someone that athletic though.
     
  11. manxman2601

    manxman2601 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    #24 Jersey

    Wouldn't he be better inside or is he too tall.

    Give him credit. It's only his 16th game but there are other developmental guys I'd much rather have. Terron Armstead for example has much better feet. Watson really shouldn't be coming out.
     
  12. patsfaninpa

    patsfaninpa In the Starting Line-Up

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    They said he's 6'6". He looks to have a powerful build. He really should stay another year. We don't know his family situation. But, he might be a 1st rounder with another year of good work.

    Check this clip out.

    http://gifsoup.com/view2/4222666/meanlick-o.gif
     
  13. manxman2601

    manxman2601 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    #24 Jersey

    Love it when a lineman blocks two on the same play.

    It was a really good find by you though.
     
  14. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    From Kevin Weidl at ESPNInsider:

    2013 NFL draft - Florida DT Shariff Floyd is gaining momentum - ESPN

    NFL DraftScout has Watson ranked #77 currently. Seems like people are catching on to Barwinian Evolution. We saw something of this last year with guys like Brandon Hardin and Akiem Hicks - who were considered late day 3 picks going into the draft - going in the 3rd round.
     
  15. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    My alternative to Gholston is Utah junior DE Joe Kruger, who also declared. Like Gholston he's 6'7" 280#. He's the younger brother of Baltimore OLB Paul Kruger, and reportedly is faster than his brother and the best athlete of the family (another brother also plays for Utah). One local radio host refers to him as a "sasquatch". He played most of the season on a bum ankle so his film may not fully reflect his athleticism, but he did sometimes play out of a 2 point stance, and reportedly has 4.7 speed. If he's anything like his bother Paul I would expect him to have a great motor and work ethic and be very tough, without any of the character or maturity issues that surround William Gholston.
     
  16. rookBoston

    rookBoston 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    #12 Jersey

    Another cross-sport example is our very own Dane Fletcher, who was a top hockey prospect growing up, and only switched to football very late. And Jeff Demps, who's an olympic caliber track guy. Brady was a pitcher and had pretty good stuff. Drew Henson, who was a QB at Michigan with Brady (and overshadowed Brady) went to baseball first, and then came back to the NFL and flopped there, too. Stephen Neal was a fixture on our OL for the SB years, after coming up as a National Champion in wrestling and learning to play football at the hands of Dante Scarneccia.

    Interesting idea for a thread, but this is not anything new that I can tell. Bo Jackson was a mind numbing multi-sport athlete. To suggest that Connor Barwin is a point of evolution in the history of football is overstating the point pretty seriously. Connor Barwin is a minor footnote in the history of football and hasn't done squat to deserve a theory named after him, except as the draft binkie for a lot of Patriots Fans--myself included.

    If there is a trend, it may be that football is more popular than ever, and some multi-sport athletes who might have decided to play a different sport have opted for the NFL. Basketball has been fading from it's heights of cool in the 80s and 90s. Baseball hasn't been cool since the 40s. Kids who are athletic, growing up, can choose which sport they love. And more of them choose football today than in the past, because salaries are up, and more importantly they are fans of the game.

    At a macro-level, this trend might be reversing. All the talk about concussions and the debilitating long term effects may drive some mutli-sport athletes away. The Junior Seau suicide and star players saying if they knew then what it would cost them, they would never have played the game. And fact that the commissioner is a bastard, leaving a taint on the sport. Athletes who have a choice will take that stuff into consideration when making career decisions.

    I am reminded of Jeff Samardzija, who was an All-American WR and a star at Notre Dame a few years ago. Big dude with soft hands, and a tendency to make big plays. Reminds me a little of Hernandez in how he moves. That guy chose to play baseball as a pro, even though he would have been a likely first round pick in the NFL.

    Multi-sport athleticism is not new. It's old, very old.

    The other thing that may be going on is the success of the NFL overseas is drawing a larger pool of prospects now than in the past. More players from Australia, Germany, West Africa, West Indies. Rugby players, especially kickers. Hockey players. Players who don't know the rules and never played the game growing up. Sebastian Vollmer. The NFL has always tended to attract it's share of Polynesian athletes. The best Latin athletes still go to soccer.

    No doubt football is becoming more global, and people like Jason Pierre Paul might never have considered football as a career option in the past. The NBA went through this same globalization effect, and NBA rosters read more like the United Nations now, drawing players from Turkey, China, Russia, Germany, Nigeria, etc., than back in the days of Bird and Magic.

    Some of that may be happening in the NFL, too... gradually. That is new. But that has damn-close-to-nothing to do with Connor Barwin.

    The other observation in the OP is the prevalence of players switching positions. Moving from DL to OL. Moving from QB to WR. Moving from WR to S. Moving from TE to OT. Really, is this new? I don't even want to start listing examples, because the cup runneth over. Bill Belichick started his career at OC, lol!! It's human nature to shift and move, and players have been moving positions in the game of football since the dawn of time... with or without Connor Barwin!
     
  17. Snake Eyes

    Snake Eyes Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Brady wasn't a pitcher, he was a catcher (I know that sounds horrible:D)

    Since Mayo started the thread I think he can name the theory anything he damn well pleases:rocker:
     
  18. Merril Hoge's Tie Knot

    Merril Hoge's Tie Knot Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    It's just Mayoclinic being witty, because Barwin rhymes with Darwin.
     
  19. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    To address some of these points:

    1. I've said that mutli-sport athleticism is very, very old. Go back to Jim Thorpe if you want to.

    2. Players switching positions is nothing new, as I've said, just like crossing sports. But there HAS been a more active evolution in scouting to look for prospects from other sports with raw athleticism, and to take a much earlier risk on them in the draft based on their athletic potential. Look at the example above of Menelik Watson, who had never put on straps until a year and a half ago, who is still technically very raw and lacks instincts, but who could be a day 2 pick in the draft. That high a projection is something new, IMHO, and is the effect of "Barwinian" evolution - of scouts and FOs realizing the potential impact of these elite athletes, and their ability to make position changes and pick up the game much more quickly than previously thought.

    3. As for Barwin, as MHTK says, a large part of the reason for using his name is simply a pun. But the other part is that I do think that Barwin is part of an inflection point that occurred around 2009-2010, where teams began to realize that guys with elite athleticism would have an impact much sooner than projected. I have no doubt that if Barwin were coming out this year he would be a 1st round pick. What we are seeing this year is there is a tendency for guys with elite athleticism who are still raw to rise much more quickly, and less of an emphasis on taking "high floor" guys who have several years of consistent tape, but who may have maxed out their potential. Barwin himself may only be a footnote in this evolution, but I think that he came out at a period that was something of an inflection point in the shift of values, and that, along with the pun, was why I used his name in the title. I already said all of that (post #13 above) for anyone who had bothered to take the time to read the thread. And I really don't see why I can't pick whatever title I damn well wanted to.

    What's different now is that teams are taking bigger and bigger risks on guys with little experience but elite size and athleticism, and usual higher draft picks on them. Brandon Hardin and Akiem Hicks were projected late round picks last year, and both ended up going 3rd round. Teams are relying less and less on tape and college productivity and more and more on athleticism and projection. They're looking more and more at guys with diverse athletic backgrounds, and position switches are becoming more and more common. All of it happened in the past, but it's becoming much more mainstream now, and the development of these guys can be very fast. These guys seem to explode out of nowhere: Anthony Barr went from becoming an unknown to an impact player in a matter of weeks.

    Part of the theme of this thread is that there are probably dozens of guys - perhaps more - with elite athleticism and high upside sitting around undiscovered, the way Barr, Ansah, Watson and Long were last year. They won't show up on the early 1st round projections that come out for next year's draft in April. Draftniks like Mel Kiper won't have heard of most of them, as they're not scouts. The trick is finding them, and especially getting them before they're discovered and their stock rises.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2013

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