Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Georgia's Stafford, Moreno to declare for draft

ESPN's Mark Schlabach is reporting that Georgia's talented duo Matt Stafford and Knowshon Moreno will both announce their intentions to declare for the 2009 draft. This will further improve the quality at the top of round one, making up for a substandard senior class.

Stafford, a 6'3" 237 lbs quarter back has ideal size and is a potential first overall pick. He set a single season record with 25 touchdowns this year and has the strong arm often coveted by NFL scouts. There are question marks about his decision making, but he's played in a pro-offense and has good mechanics.

Moreno, described at a generous 5'11" 207 lbs scored 32 total touchdowns in just two years with the Bulldogs. He's a triple threat running back, excelling as a pass blocker and receiver out of the backfield to compliment the obligatory running skills. Due to his size some have questioned whether he can be an every down back, but his gutsy style and ability to finish runs belittle his physical qualities. He could gate crash the top end of the draft.

Both prospects have appeared in mock drafts going to Seattle with the fourth overall pick (Stafford here and here, Moreno here). They could be potential selections for 'Hawks GM Tim Ruskell. Nevertheless, their presence increases the general quality of the 2009 draft, a good thing with Seattle selecting so highly.


Michael Steffes said...

Stafford has some competition for that #1 spot. Reports are that Bradford will declare tomorrow night after the game. Personally, I think Bradford is the only one of the three worth taking in the top ten. Georgia played with a terrible 0-line this year, but taking a back that high is bad news. McFadden and Stewart were arguably in the back half of rookie runners last year. They were outperformed by many backs taken later.

Rob Staton said...

I must admit to being a fan of both Stafford and Moreno. I think it'll be a straight shoot out between Stafford and Bradford to go first overall. I couldn't tell you who has the edge, because they both have obvious qualities but some question marks.

Having taken the time to study Moreno more closely, I have to say I really rate his ability. He's going to be a good weapon for a team somewhere. I think there will always be debate based on the merits of taking running backs and receivers early or late. Every year there seems to be a different angle to the discussion. McFadden didn't work out in his rookie year, but would he have had more success at a franchise not based in Oakland? I think Stewart did a good job considering he shared time with DeAngelo Williams (who had an exceptional season). I also loved the production from Chris Johnson and Matt Forte, both early selections. The weekly pounding of a running back means a big financial investment can be a gamble for teams though.

Even still, I think a truly elite back, if he's available, is a can't miss pick. Adrian Peterson being a key example. I don't see an AP in this draft, but I really think Moreno could suprise a few people and shoot up the draft boards.

Anonymous said...

If the hawks take Moreno with the fourth overall pick Mr. Ruskell should be fired immediately. Same goes for other drafts that have us taking Beanie Wells. No RBs in this draft are worth this high of a pick.

Rob Staton said...

I would be suprised at this stage if Moreno went in the top five. However, here's a scenario to contemplate. Seattle re-sign Leroy Hill in the off season and Matt Hasselbeck is cleared with a full bill of health. The top three picks consist of two of the top left tackles and Michael Crabtree. If Seattle didn't want to take one of the quarter backs and are happy to progress with Hasselbeck and Wallace, if they felt the next best tackle was too much of a reach and if they couldn't trade down - who do they take? The highest rated defensive player at the moment is Aaron Curry, but in this scenario they have re-signed Hill and Julian Peterson and Lofa Tatupu are still on the roster.

Add to the equation, Seattle could become a more run focussed team potentially under a Mora / Knapp combination. If they were unimpressed with the Jones/Morris combo, do they look at running back as a need?

In this scenario, Knowshon Moreno could come into consideration. I don't think he's any more of a reach with the fourth pick as a Taylor Mays for example.

Of course, this is all conjecture and so much has to happen for all this to be a realistic proposition. Knowshon Moreno is a big long shot to end up in Seattle with the fourth pick, but I don't think it's impossible either.

Kurt said...

I think if that was the case, Rob, Seattle would either take one of the QBs or trade out of the 4th spot with someone who really wanted one of the QBs. They could probably get a major haul in return if they found themselves in that position.

I love hearing all these good players declaring for the draft, though. Just makes the field and the value of our 2nd, 3rd, and 4th round picks, that much better.

Rob Staton said...

Kurt, you are probably right. I'm sure if both QB's avoid the top three they will gain a lot of attention from teams looking to trade up. At the same time, if Seattle are unlikely to take a QB, Cincy, Oakland and Cleveland will not take a quarter back. They would likely only need to get in front of Jacksonville and San Francisco, and may even be able to do a deal with them. Trying to get the fourth pick would make little sense unless they seriously thought Seattle would take one of Stafford or Bradford.