Monday, 9 February 2009

Monday links

Matt McGuire wonders why Knowshon Moreno (RB, Georgia) isn't considering one of the elite prospects in this draft class. McGuire has him ranked second on his big board and has often championed the cause of Moreno and fellow running back Chris 'Beanie' Wells.

John McGrath counts down the days to the NFL Draft and reviews what the mock drafts are predicting for Seattle. He notices the trend amongst most pundits to send Michael Crabtree (WR, Texas Tech) north west, but also looks at some of the other prospects who may be on Tim Ruskell's radar.

Mike Sando looks at ways in which the St Louis Rams can free up some cap space. Why is this relevant to the draft? Torry Holt (WR) and Orlando Pace (OT) are two top candidates to be cut. If either leaves it could be a clear indication as to which direction the Rams will go with the second overall pick.

Charles Davis takes a look at the prospects to keep an eye on at the scouting combine. He also says he doesn't care how fast Michael Crabtree's 40 yard dash is - "he'll be successful in the NFL". The combine kicks off on February 18th.


Chris (Seattle) said...

Hey Rob. So, I'm curious as to why Matt McGuire is so infatuated with Moreno and Wells (more curious about Wells). Given that no one really knows how any of these prospects will fair in the NFL, saying Moreno is the 2nd best prospect in this draft still seems borderline ridiculous. Saying Beanie Wells is the 3rd best is absolutely ridiculous. Normally I'm against most draft philosophies (as we discussed before on arguments against taking crabtree so high), but it's consistently proven RB is the most replaceable position in the NFL. Wells battled injury issues all through college, and given his running style it's hard to imagine he can avoid injuries in the pros. No matter the talent, if you can't stay on the field you are useless. Adrian Peterson was given the same red-flag coming out of college, however, Wells is no where near the talent that Peterson was (and we still don't know if Peterson's next big injury isn't right around the corner). With Moreno (and Wells for that matter), we don't have much film on them. Both are coming out early, and in Moreno's case he split carries a lot early in his career at Georgia. He is an intelligent player, can catch out of the backfield, and has great vision. He's good enough that I don't even factor in his lack of "elite speed" in this analysis. Moreno seems like a solid football player, worthy of a late first round selection for sure, but the 2nd best player? I just can't see it. Not to mention Crabtree is all they way down to 8th on McGuire's big board. It almost seems as if he is trying to stand out from other "draft experts" to create some stir and attention.

Also, on Sando's blog you posted the link to about the Rams salary cap, he recently posted the same report for the Seahawks.

Rob Staton said...

Hi Chris,

Matt McGuire has certainly been very vocal in his support of Knowshon Moreno. I agree with him to an extent becasue Moreno is a prospect I'd love to see in Seattle and whom I'm very confident will have a great NFL career. Whether he's worth second place on a big board is another debate. There's not an awful lot of standout prospects with few question marks. I have very few worries about Moreno and the reason I think he's more likely to be a mid-first rounder as opposed to a top five pick is purely because, as you say, running back is a position most teams feel they can fill with relative ease. With more and more two back systems it's also a position teams are unwilling to throw a lot of money at.

But if you're looking for an all round quality prospect, I think an argument can be made for Moreno being that highly placed on a big board. Like I said, there are few legitimate worries about Moreno. The offensive tackle class and the QB's for example, all have some concerns. Moreno won't go second overall in the draft, but he could be classified as a top five guy based on pure talent.

However, like you I find it odd that Wells is so high (third) and Crabtree so relatively low (eighth). Unlike Moreno there are worries about Wells... he doesn't seem like he enjoys football to me. His interviews about his career are all very half hearted and his peformances on the field are equally unsatisfying. You can't have a RB who chooses when he will or won't run. I've seen enough of Wells sat on the sideline in the 4th quarter of a bowl game when his team needed him to be put off for good. He's also always seemingly a game away from another nagging injury. Third best prospect? Not for me.

Thanks for alerting me to Sando's blog for the Seahawk's cap report, I hadn't noticed it. It's interesting to see that there's not much room for manouevre if Seattle need to create some space. I think it's unlikely Julian Peterson or Deion Branch get cut. I think they'll re-sign Leroy Hill but there may not be enough room to bring back Leonard Weaver - which is a shame. That may have been a concern from last year when they spent a pick on Owen Schmitt. After that I can't see any big signings in free agency and more of a focus on planning for a succesful draft.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rob,

Say we had a top player or players that were open to restructure thier contracts, can the cap for this year improve if they took less this year for more as the cap goes away? I would not expect for this loophole to exist as others would be doing it but I wanted to know if you knew one way or the other.

Thanks for your time!

Big Joe

Rob Staton said...

Hi Joe,

I'll try and find out more information for you. It is possible to restructure contracts and last year, a few veterans (Kerney was definitely one) restructured their deals to free up a bit of space to re-sign Trufant and Tatupu. But as you say I'm not sure how viable it will be with the likelihood of a cap free year on the horizon and whether there are any restrictions.

Chris (Seattle) said...

Rob, forgot to mention in my earlier post, today is a big day in the NFL offseason. Teams can officially release players starting today. Last year at this time, Carolina released Wahle and we signed him almost immediately. Is there anyone you can see that we could sign during this period? So far, the player to best fit in our system is Leigh Bodden, the corner released by the Lions today. He is 6'1" and a great tackler. His durability is an issue, but he has the perfect build and skillset for the tampa 2 we plan to run. I've also heard rumors the Raiders may part ways with Michael Huff, and if this is true I think he is someone we would have to consider. He would provide an immediate upgrade from Russell, and give us speed on the back-end to prevent the big play we can't seem to stop again. I know we don't have much flexibility under the cap, but teams always seem to find a way to get creative.

Rob Staton said...

You've pretty much summed it up Chris, the only two I could think of were Bodden and Huff. I'm not sure how active the Seahawks will be in this initial period, there isn't a ton of cap room and they will be setting their sights on re-signing Leroy Hill as a priority. Bodden would be an interesting option but he won't be that cheap and you have to wonder whether they'd sign another CB to start... essentially ending at least one career in Seattle for Kelly Jennings or Josh Wilson (both Ruskell draft picks).

Huff was highly rated going into the NFL but it just hasn't worked in Oakland. I'd be really interested in a one year deal to give him a chance to go out and prove himself. Again, I think the team are pretty set on Grant and Russell starting in 2009 even if the Seahawks fans would rather see a change. I remember Ken Hamlin leaving Seattle and getting a 1 year contract in Dallas and then making a pro-bowl. I think Huff could come into a similar situation with a more grounded franchise and try to realise some of that potential. I'm sure both prospects will get some attention. If I was a betting man, I would be suprised if Seattle are that active in free agency. But then who expected the signings of Wahle, Jones, Duckett last year?

Chris (Seattle) said...

Ya, I can see what you mean. To be honest though, we've definitely proved in the last few years that three elite LBs doesn't guarantee a great defense. If letting Hill go allowed us room to sign a couple of players at other positions we need help at (S, CB, DT, etc), than i may be okay with that. Though I also think the change in scheme and attitude from the new staff will also greatly improve our team. I'm hoping for Huff more than anyone, simply cause it would mean the end for Russell whom i despise as a player now. But, we'll see. Ruskell is now on the hot-seat the next couple of years, so hopefully he makes the right moves.

nightwulf said...

I would like them to bring Huff in, if they can get him for a decent price, don't know enough about Bodden to make a judgement. But if any current Hawks CB is on his way out the door, it's got to be Jennings. Wilson at least brings good things to the table...not much upside on Jennings though...