Matt Waldman’s RSP Boiler Room examines Colorado State WR Warren Jackson’s skill with winning in tight quarters and why that’s important as a 2021 NFL Draft prospect.
One of my favorite podcast episodes of the past five years is boxing trainer and commentator Teddy Atlas’ appearance on Joe Rogan’s show when he talks about Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, and toughness. The way he breaks down Tyson and Holyfield is a display of incredible nuance when it comes to the relationship between a fighter’s personality, how his background influenced that personality, and how it manifests in the ring when he’s actually challenged.
I’ll relate this to NFL quarterbacking soon enough on a forthcoming podcast. For now, let’s return to the concept of toughness and its value for an athlete. Tyson’s first trainer and adopted father Cus D’Amato, was also a talent scout. It’s an inherent part of being a good trainer.
Atlas relays this conversation with D’Amato about the value of toughness when evaluating fighters that I think applies perfectly to football players:
Cus used to do this because he wanted me to be a great trainer…Cus would [talk to me about toughness]:
“Teddy, got two tough guys…now, what’s tough? It’s a prerequisite for being a fighter. You better be tough, but what level? It’s all levels–degrees–but how special is being tough? Becuse if you’re a fighter you should be tough.”
[D’Amato raises his hands at equal heights as if he’s weighing the merits of each fighter]
“So you’ve got two tough guys, but one of them is smart. Taught. Developed.”
[D’Amato raises his hand higher for the smart, taught, and developed fighter.]
“That’s him. He’s tougher now.”
Atlas explains it further to Rogan.
“He goes from here…to here…becuase he’s not just dependent on toughness…he might not have to get to it. It’s there as a reserve. It’s always there to call on like an army you call on when you need it. But he’s not dependent just on that…you have to know that you [have it].
As you’ll see below Warren Jackson is a tough receiver who works the middle of the field and takes contact. However, he’s not solely dependent on his toughness at unadulterated athletic ability.
He has the technical facility to create space and maintain those reserves of toughness so he doesn’t have to call on a full dose of it with every rep. Is Jackson going to become an NFL starter? Based on what I’ve seen thus far, it’s unlikely to happen immediately. But I like his chances for development because he’s tough and shows skills that complement his grit.
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