Biomechanical Review: I Was Wrong Edition- the Tale of Tajea Sharpe and Garrett Bolles

I was wrong about Tajea Sharpe breaking out in 2016. I was also wrong in predicting NFL success for Garrett Bolles. Allow me try to explain the reasons why.


It all comes down to integration. Looking at individual areas of efficiency (my focus for 1.5 years while working on a detailed human biomechanical model) leads to a certain myopia. Like staring at a women’s… eyes and forgetting that her car is about to crash your picnic.

While certain areas of efficiency can be strong predictors of success, there is a difference between functional efficiency and stable efficiency. Functional efficiency can be gained via borrowing against other biomechanical areas. Tajea Sharpe looked gangbusters in preseason 2016, and put up 76 yards in week 1 against a strong Minnesota secondary.

But borrowing inevitably means re-paying. Tajea sharpe showed excellent WR-related functional efficiency, but he did so by borrowing against his cervical areas. Eventually, there was nothing left to borrow against, and he stopped making sharp cuts, started telegraphing routes, and failed to make tough catches. His cervical areas demanded biomechanical re-payment, he had nothing left with which to re-pay, and his WR effectiveness was seized.

Garrett Bolles’s rare breed of efficiency fooled me for a long time. His center-core posterior thoracic area is functionally efficient to an unusual degree. But looking closely across biomechanical areas reveals that he borrows from his lateral areas towards his medial ones. He pronates both his shoulders and his hips in order to attain his functional medial efficiency- this is why he appears to have a narrow frame. It also means that his overall strength is capped, and for all his center-core efficiency, he will struggle to improve to NFL standards in many important areas.

I’ve now reached the conclusion that there are no starting-caliber OTs in this draft. It’s a wasteland, and if you see draft pundits unable to reach a consensus on the OT class, it’s because they’re grasping at straws trying to find someone worthy of high-round selection. But they’re kidding themselves.  And if Vance Joseph is the excellent judge of talent he’s reported to be, his statement
about 4 starting-caliber OTs in this draft is pure lying-season misdirection.

*h/t to Yahmule, SMA, PiperAR, Drewthorn, RSH and the rest of you guys whose informed skepticism keeps me on my toes