Every GZL offseason centers around one event, the entry draft. Over the course of the league's history the staff has done an incredible job of keeping a very consistent and entertaining crop of new talent available each and every season. This past draft, I surprised myself by taking DE Cornelius Washington
, who I've called a "freak" on a couple of occasions. But while Washington was one of the more exciting raw talents available in the 2015 draft, was he indeed a "freak" at DE? I'm going to try and find out now. I haven't done any research for this article yet, but I'm hoping to put together a list of the biggest freaks by position below. Keep in mind, I'm basing this on pure athletic ability, attributes such as AWR/PBK/CTH are thrown out the window. Let's see how this goes..
Cameron Newton - 6'6" - 254 LBS - 88 SPD - 88 STR - 88 AGI - 90 ACC - 80 JMP - 95 BTK - 96 THP
Well this was an easy start. He's not the fastest QB(Oakland's Denard Robinson holds that title) and he doesn't have the biggest arm(JaMarcus Russell is still the only 99 THP guy in the league), but Newton is still clearly the league's most freakish quarterback. Drafted 1.3 in 2012, the former Heisman trophy winner is at the top of the league in nearly every imaginable physical attribute among QB's. Look at him, throw out the position specific skills and this guy would be a 1st round pick at HB, WR, TE, DE, LB, CB OR S.
Now all that said, his talents have almost been wasted at QB. Despite having a very good incoming skillset(70 AWR/82 THA), Newton has failed to truly live up to the hype to this point in his career, only passing for 5589 yards with 40 TD/28 INT during his first 3 seasons. He's also failed to become the dual-threat that many envisioned, taking 85 sacks while only rushing for 521 yards with 6 TD's and 6 fumbles(by comparison, RGIII's first season as a scrambler saw him gain 505 yards). The good news is that there's plenty of room for improvement, and Seattle has a fantastic supporting cast around their freak of nature.
Boston Mallett - 6'8" - 261 LBS - 98 THP - 88 STR
While Newton is a freakish all-around athlete, Mallett may be the perfect "freak" QB. The strength to shake off defenders while staying in the pocket, the height to look over the entire field, the size to absorb hits..oh, and an arm to sling every pass. Mallett developed in to one of the league's best young QB's in only his second season.
Denard Robinson - 6'1" - 192 LBS - 92 SPD - 62 STR - 95 AGI - 97 ACC - 89 THP - 86 JMP
RGIII is stronger, but no quarterback has the speed of Shoelace. Many thought Robinson would switch to WR or HB upon his jump to the GZL, if he did he likely could've been drafted somewhere in the 3rd round range.
Trent Richardson - 5'10" - 242 LBS - 94 SPD - 81 STR - 92 AGI - 95 ACC - 73 JMP - 88 BTK
Quarterback was a slam dunk, I'm thinking halfback will be one of the tougher decisions I have to make for this list. I used a baseline of 88 SPD/80 STR for the list, of which Richardson is one of 10. While that may be a flawed way to narrow it down as it excludes the likes of Mario Fannin(241 LBS with 98 SPD), I'm looking for the biggest all around "freak" at the position, so STR had to play a large role in my eyes. While there are 10 players with 88 SPD/80 STR, only 4 of those have 93 or better SPD. Of those 4, Richardson is the heaviest. Knile Davis is only 6 pounds lighter and has the edge by one in SPD/STR/AGI/ACC, but the 9 point advantage Richardson holds in AGI(and 16 points in BTK, which I believe behaves in a somewhat physical attributish manner) pushes him to the top of the list.
Drafted by the 49ers at 1.4 in 2013, Richardson is still the highest drafted HB in GZL history. Was the risk worth the reward? That's yet to be seen, but once again the freak has yet to live up to the hype. Richardson has been below average as a runner despite rushing for 2535 yards. On the plus side, his 3.61 YPC and 2 TD's as a rookie improved significantly last season to 4.5 YPC and 7 TD's. It should also be mentioned that a very comparable Mark Ingram struggled while bouncing from Indy to New Orleans before landing in Oakland's run heavy offense, where he's been the league's most productive back over the last two seasons.
Bull Griggs - 6'1" - 252 LBS - 88 SPD - 83 STR - 87 AGI - 90 ACC - 72 JMP - 87 BTK
Only 3 HB's are stronger, and only the much lighter Adrian Peterson can match this startlingly agile mammoth's other functional attributes. Extremely productive as a rookie.
Knile Davis - 5'11" - 237 LBS - 95 SPD - 82 STR - 83 AGI - 96 ACC - 83 JMP - 72 BTK
Davis is only a rookie so it's hard to say how his freakish athleticism will translate. If it wasn't for his low AGI, he'd have headlined the position.
I'm out of steam tonight, FB/WR/TE coming soon if people dig this.