"Excited to watch another #Viking going into the Hall of Fame. Congrats @criscarter80! Should have been in on the 1st ballot!"
Who’s watching college film so we (I mean me) don’t have to? It’s Josh Deceuster of Draft Breakdown. I give so much credit to people who can break down film, especially giving us something besides the youtube highlight films. I have trouble watching an episode of Breaking Bad for the second time. He’s working on an 2014 NFL draft mock (look for #2014EGMock), so you know he has the bona fides.
How did you get involved with Draft Breakdown? What’s your official role with the site? It was a long journey to get to DraftBreakdown. I started cutting full game tapes when I was working with Jon Dove and Jason Madson at Fanside’s old draft site (before “With the First Pick..”) and continued with Matthew Fairburn and Dan Kadar at MockingThe Draft.com.
The first videos were split into two based on who was on offense. I would include every snap minus the special teams and plays stopped due to penalty. The thought was that this would help give me and anyone watching a better sense of what the offense liked to do, tendencies, and what players were doing to affect the play when not directly involved. It took a while, but the videos slowly caught on and started getting lots of views. Not sure who they were (internet anonymity and all), but lots of people with “Coach” in the handle began subscribing and requesting film on teams. That’s when I knew there was a demand for this kind of video work. It got to be that I spent more time on videos then I did on writing because I saw it as a way to get the better writers around me more resources to put into their work.
Mocking the Draft went through a few changes when SBNation did their site overhaul in the beginning of the year and Aaron Aloysius, who makes DraftBreakdown work, offered the opportunity to join their team. Made my first video for DraftBreakdown in February and have been enjoying the experience ever since.
How does your film breakdown process work? It looks like you’re going for every key play in a game, like every target Aaron Dobson gets in a game along with a couple of plays that show his blocking ability. It’s a slightly different process depending on which position you are cutting. For example, cutting videos for QBs is pretty easy, just time consuming. Every pass play, whether is ends in completion, drop, miss, run, or sack, ends up on the video. You can see every choice/progression the QB goes through in each game situation and get a better picture of his overall game. Using Dobson and WRs as an example, I try to get every target, whether caught or not. This gives a better picture than a highlight reel would because you can see the prospect when they’re on and when they aren’t at their best. It can also help show the kind of routes they like to target particular WRs on or how comfortable a QB is with said WR based on how often he’s willing to throw it at him when he’s covered, etc. Highlights can’t get you that. When it comes to WR blocking, I only work in plays where the ball carrier takes the play to the WRs side of the field, preferably if the play ends up needing the WRs block to decide when/where to make their cut upfield.
The hardest to cut are all the members of the defensive secondary. Because of how broadcast cameras capture the on-field action (vs any coach’s or All-22 film which most school don’t have or aren’t giving to guys like me), most of their job is done off screen. It limits what you can show and most of the plays you end up being able to use involve a highlight that shows several angles. This is fine, but those kinds of replays are few and far between and usually are only used if someone makes a highlight reel play or penalty. I feel like we can still make them objectively, but it limits how we can view and present them in our videos.
The main goal through the process though, for any position, is to get a general idea of who they are as a football player. I try to go into most videos without any preconceived thought on who that player is or what they can do and let what I see turn my opinion. That way I feel I’m not editing the video to show you my opinion on said player, but giving you a good look into what they are asked to do and how successful they are at it.
Have you already started breaking down film for 2014 prospects, and are there players who stand out not named Jadeveon Clowney or Teddy Bridgewater? Of course! In fact, we have over 200 different 2014 prospects with at least one video to their name. We have a great group of editors from every part of the country watching what I’m sure our friends and family consider to be “too much football” (no such thing) finding all sorts of talent waiting to be discovered on Saturdays and built for Sundays.
My favorite defensive player outside of Clowney would have to be Notre Dame DT Louis Nix III. Huge, wide framed body, but so explosive out of his stance for his size its almost unreal. He has the strength to hold up double teams at the point of attack, but is also a danger as an interior pass rusher. Having a NT who doesn’t have to come off the field on passing downs is a big advantage to any team’s defensive personnel strategy. He can operate in a 3-4 or a 4-3 which will make him very popular come draft season. My defensive player not on everyone’s radar is UConn ILB Yawin Smallwood. I think he has K.J. Wright (Seahawks LB/S) type of potential. He’s has great straight line speed and does very well working through blocks and making plays at or behind the line of scrimmage. Been a lot of good talent on the UConn defense the past couple seasons (4 members drafted in 2013) and Yawin could be the highest pick of them all.
On offense, the OL is looking like there could be a lot of talent coming out for 2014 and while OT is still the most important of all OL spots, OG’s are getting drafted higher by teams looking to slow down interior pass rush/pressure. OG Cyril Richardson of Baylor could be the next OG to be drafted early. He’s a massive guy (6’5” 335) whose shown off his strength inside while still having more than enough athleticism to make plays on the move. He’s not Jonathan Cooper or Chance Warmack, both of whom went Top 10, but he can make an make an impact at a spot getting more attention early in the draft.
Skill positions get a lot of attention too, but a lot of times the underclassmen get more attention because we’ve seen less of their flaws and potential starts to outweigh what they’ve accomplished as a collegiate athlete. This causes some really talented WR/RB/TEs to fall into the mid-later rounds as the non-seniors are taken early. Because of the popularity of MAC games played during the week (#MACtion) many people have been aware of Kent State RB/WR Dri Archer for some time, but I think once he gets a chance to compete against other top talents in the Senior Bowl and combine, he will be much more well regarded than he is currently. He was basically Kent State’s offense this past season and is an impressive open field runner who can contribute at multiple spots on offense. If Denard Robinson had playing RB/WR his entire career instead of QB, we might be making comparisons out of them, but for now he is considered a “poor man’s” De’Anthony Thomas (Oregon).
How’d you become a Vikings fan, and has any team that made the playoffs the previous year seem less hopeful the following season? Ha! Well, I wouldn’t call this season less hopefully by a long shot. Training camp isn’t even over! ☺ I became a Vikings fan the same way I imagine most fans are drawn to their team: I was born in the Twin Cities. I’ve moved around a bit, so I also keep track of the Cowboys and Seahawks, but I have always followed the Vikings the closest. This is a big season for the Vikes with a lot riding on QB Christian Ponder, but I like to stay optimistic as long as possible. As long as Adrian Peterson is still on the team and healthy, I think they will still be a good and fun to cheer for. Maybe it’s just hard for draft fans like myself to get too down about a potential or an actual bad season because then I can just get more excited about the draft!
What’s LA living like? Talk about the day job and working in the film/TV industry. Living in LA has been an interesting experience. I moved almost immediately after graduating from college (Go Huskies!) and got into a competitive business with a high burnout rate. Working on movies had always been a dream of mine, so I stayed dedicated to making it work and have carved out a decent career working as a freelance production accountant. My job is to pay for all the bills (rentals/purchases) and payroll for whichever production I happen to be working on. It’s generally an office position in a small windowless room (Have a window on my new show. Moving on up!), but there are always opportunities to go to set, watch filming, and be behind the scenes.
There are too many stories, but some highlights have been hearing Tom Hanks yell, “F*** the F***ing F***ers! We’ll do it ourselves!”, meeting Ron Howard in the bathroom at work, meeting a grown up Ralphie from “A Christmas Story” (He looks exactly the same. Haircut down to the glasses), and learning just how short Steve Carell, Dustin Hoffman, and Tom Cruise really are. I’ve even had a chance to indulge my geekier side by working on “The Dark Knight Rises”.
Most jobs tend to last between 6-8 months and there can be a few months (or longer) before finding the next job, but few industries that offer these kind of experiences as well as a few other fringe benefits, like entirely too much free food.
Is there one fantasy league that you’re in that you want to win the most? The illustrious PHFFL Championship Trophy has so far eluded my grasp, but this could be my year! The Pizza Hut Fantasy Football League is made up of my friends who still live up in Seattle. It gets its name from a former commissioner who ran a Pizza Hut. Clever, I know, but there isn’t a trophy out there I want more.
Does your wife/girlfriend/sig other have any issues with your football obsession? I have been fortunate enough to have girlfriends who are big enough sports fans in their own right that they understand the obsession. It is, of course, always important to let her know that while football is the object of our obsession, she is always #1. An extra bonus to living on the West Coast is that we have football from sun up to sun down, Saturday and Sunday, but still plenty of time to enjoy the night without missing any football.
Football or sex: which do you think of more? Without question: Sex. Football is a very close second though.
Where are you on the usual football Sunday? I assume there’s a man cave. Sadly I’ve moved around LA too much to have anything grand like a man cave. On most Sundays I can be found comfortably on my couch with laptop within arm’s reach (for fantasy football of course), eyes glued to the big screen, watching games and flipping to RedZone during commercials. There are also plenty of great sports bars with all your football needs around LA whenever I feel like braving the sunlight.
Tell me about a hobby/interest outside of football. I’ve always enjoyed the great outdoors. Became an Eagle Scout at 16, have stayed in several State and National Parks, and do my best to trek the hiking trails, hills, and coast lines out here in California. I try to make more of an effort these days because of how much time I spend in front of the computer, both at work and at home.
Which football writers are on your must-read list? There are too many to list. I mentioned Jon, Jason, Matthew, and Dan. Eric Stoner writes terrific breakdowns of offensive and defensive concepts. Matt Waldman’s work is must read for me and I really enjoy Josh Norris and Evan Silva’s work at RotoWorld.
Is there anyone in the industry that you’d like me to interview? In the football industry: Joe Bussell aka @NFLosophy. He worked inside a NFL front office and bet he has some interesting stories from that time.
In the film industry: Danny Trejo. One of the nicest and friendliest guys you’ll ever meet. So long as you’re not intimidating by his tattoos and gruff looking demeanor. [Zach note: Machete and Tortuga? Bring on Tortuga.]
Tell me about any plugs that you’d like. Sites, podcasts, projects, anything. First and foremost, all the great people at DraftBreakdown.com and the content they’re putting out now and into the season. Especially to Aaron Aloysius who put the group together.
Thanks to Josh for breaking down his own film. Follow him on Twitter.