Slipping Into Madness: Groves or Harvey?

"Madness (insanity) is rare in individuals – but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule."


Nietzsche is an expert on madness!


That I am seeing more and more this idea that Groves is the one to watch from our draft class has me concerned: Directly due to that being how I felt on draft day. Is it the closing speed that has us so smitten? Is it that Harvey’s final year was playing for a defense that was so young that Harvey had no help? I need training camp and our preseason games to work this confusion out. In reading the scouting reports I am concerned that a knock on both Groves and Harvey is lack of lower body strength.  I have always been convinced that the tree is only as strong as its roots and in run support this is an asset.

However, here are some knocks that make me laugh (taken from Scouts, Inc evaluations via ESPN):

Groves: Can be overaggressive and gets caught too far upfield at times. Flashes an effective spin move and has the lateral mobility to redirect inside after starting outside but relies on speed too much and hasn’t developed a variety of pass rush moves at this point.

I read this as saying his efforts to beat the tackle to the outside will sometimes get him blocked out of the play.  Isn't that what you want the DE to do: get up field quick, seal the outside and force the play to gut of the D?  Sometimes the OT will get you.  It is also fair to say that if Groves has the spin move and mobility the rest can be taught to him.  If the spin move continues to work the rest is gravy.

Harvey: Relies on quickness too much and occasionally tries to sidestep blocks rather than stacking them up. Is quicker than fast. Shows good initial burst but lacks elite closing quickness as a pass rusher…doesn’t always use hands well and takes too long to long to shed blocks when gets reached.

The use of "occasionally" and "doesn't always" implies, to me, that the player usually is effective.  I don't want my DE sidestepping or slow off the block on a running play but I also don't expect he'll always be in position.  Again, sometimes the OT will get you.  Additionally, if my DE is quicker to get to the backfield the RB has yet to throttle up or the QB is still in the pocket.

Compare them to this guy:

He has a tendency to play too high at times. Runs around too many blocks and takes himself out of position at times, as a result. He needs to do a better job of using his long arms and hands to keep separation from blockers. He takes too long to disengage from blocks and will get frustrated by the double team too often. His motor runs hot-and-cold.

Mario Williams.

Now Williams is a "man" at 6’ 7" and 290+. Harvey and Groves can’t touch this this size.

However there is this guy: undersized, can be undisciplined and has room to improve. He can get washed out and struggles to stay square when holding the edge. He doesn’t always contain on the back side. He has limited pass-rush countermoves.

6’1" 268 lb Dwight Freeney

Don't interpret this as me saying they will be as dominant as Freeney or Williams, rather it is a point that Groves and Harvey have similar negatives. I don’t take issue necessarily with said negatives…it is an effort to find any area of improvement…there is no perfect player. But compared to 2 very successful DEs there is reason to believe that both Jags possess the tools to be successful at the next level.

I’ll take Harvey’s quick first step to AT LEAST disrupt the QB timing. I’ll take Groves top end speed to AT LEAST push the pocket. I love that Harvey has the long arms to keep lineman away from his box. I love that when Groves beats you to the outside you’re not getting him. As noted, I’d love for them to get stronger from the waist down (if the scouts are correct) but I’ll play the fan, be a "glass half full guy" and defer to my experience of watching SEC football. If their heart is in the game, these kids can be special. 

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