Matt Waldman’s RSP NFL Scouting Glossary: Layering Moves in Succession with WR Jadon Haselwood (Arkansas)

Matt Waldman defines the term “Layering Moves in Succession” when grading elusiveness for NFL Draft prospects with the help of a play from Arkansas wide receiver Jadon Haselwood.

Movement Is Language

Sports are an expression of physical behavior. Movement is the language. Moves are the words.

There are a variety of upper and lower-body moves that football players use to communicate or obfuscate intentions. Each move is a building block or a word.

The more sophisticated and efficient the movement, the more sophisticated and efficient the player. An example of that sophistication is how a player uses multiple movements in a small space or a short span of time.

This is the essence of Layering Moves in Succession.

The Value of Layering Moves in Succession

Obvious to any sports fan, compound movements reveal sophistication in the player’s game. We rarely take a granular approach to consider why this is the case.

One move can be effective on its own. Yet, opponents also learn to anticipate a specific move or develop an efficient response to them.

Layering moves in succession is an illustration of thinking ahead in multiple steps. When I use the word “thinking,” when it comes to movement, it’s different than the form of thinking we’re used to considering.

If you know how to drive, you’ve learned that it takes practice and experience to perform the compound movements of operating a vehicle with precision. The more demanding the environment, the more practice it takes.

You wouldn’t send a first-time driver into downtown Boston or I-285 in Atlanta. After a few months of diligent practice, may be a different story, although I know experienced drivers who found these environments rattling.

At the same time, an experienced driver of the roads mentioned above doesn’t make them fit to drive a Formula-1 race course or become a Hollywood stunt driver in an action movie.

This has to do with the skills involved with reading the road and maneuvering the vehicle. Regardless of the environment, these skills must be honed until they are performed without conscious thought. The must be performed at the speed of instinct.

They aren’t instinctive. If they were, you could drop a first-time drive into the middle of Atlanta rush-hour traffic and they’d be fine. However, they have to be learned to the point that you can carry on a conversation, listen to the radio, or think about things other than driving and still perform the task of driving with precision and subtlety.

The more demanding the environment, the more practice it takes to learn how to maneuver the vehicle in this manner. The same is true with movement in football.

Although there are movement trainers nowadays who can help players refine their skills to become the equivalent of stunt drivers, which is often needed on an NFL field, many players develop the old-fashioned way:

  • They watch a lot of football.
  • They identify their favorite football players.
  • They copy their movements.
  • They practice those movements.
  • They attempt those movements in games.
  • Wash, rinse, and repeat for several years.

This is why many successful players aren’t great analysts with movement and body mechanics. They’ve put in the work to perform the maneuvers, but they didn’t spend time thinking about how to teach it or analyze the effectiveness of others doing it.

That’s part of scouting, training, and coaching.

Players who layer moves in succession demonstrate the ability to tell a story that identifies and anticipates the tendencies of opponents multiple steps ahead of them and that diagnostic skill happens at the speed of instinct. It’s a physical illustration of a player’s knowledge, preparation, and execution at a higher level that’s valuable for the NFL game.

The Film: WR Jadon Haselwood Layering Moves in Succession.

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If you’re a fantasy owner and interested in purchasing past publications for $9.95 each, the 2012-2020 RSPs also have a Post-Draft Add-on that’s included at no additional charge.  

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