Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Rota's reports: Knowshon Moreno & Michael Hamlin

Kyle Rota from College Talent Scout published two new scouting reports today on Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno and Clemson strong safety Michael Hamlin. Two prospects that have often been talked about from a Seahawks perspective this off season, but how do they grade?

Rota gives Knowshon Moreno his highest marks to date (7.1 - grading system explained here), beating out prospects like Matt Stafford, Jason Smith and Michael Crabtree. The former Bulldog is praised for his character, balance and ability as a receiver or pass blocker. Moreno gets a significantly higher grade than both Chris 'Beanie' Wells (6.1) and Donald Brown (also 6.1). He also compares Moreno to a former NFL MVP who previously carried the rock for Seattle.

"He’s a good all-around back capable of running any play, and as a receiver he is excellent at generating 1st downs. Two players I am reminded of are Shaun Alexander (due to vision and inside running, but Moreno is a killer blocker and receiver where Alexander was poor at both) and Clinton Portis (the 2005+ version who is a great blocker and inside runner, not the 200lber from college), and I feel Moreno could be better than either because he truly is the best thing about each of those two backs." - Kyle Rota on Knowshon Moreno

We've often discussed whether Seahawks GM Tim Ruskell would likely show any interest in Moreno. Undoubtedly, he has the kind of traits he looks for in a prospect - big production, big school, big character. Ruskell was visibly present at Georgia's pro-day to get a close look at Moreno, so could he be a surprise choice fourth overall?

"While I don’t recommend drafting a RB #4 overall due to money and the overall fungible nature of the RB position, Moreno had huge success behind a pretty bad Georgia OL and if given a decent OL I see pro-bowls and possibly Canton in Moreno’s future." - Kyle Rota

What about Clemson's Michael Hamlin? The Seahawks could use some depth at the safety position, although they are perhaps more likely to look at free safety instead of the strong option where guys like Patrick Chung and Hamlin have excelled. Rota's verdict?

"Hamlin has two strikes against him – he’s not a physical, intimidating type safety and he is not in possession of elite speed. However, he does do several things well – he has a nose for the football, is a secure tackler, and is a decent athlete. I think Hamlin is a guy who can stick in the NFL, but I think he needs some time to add weight and work on his reads, but there is the potential he becomes a good player. If he does, however, he will do it with his coverage and decent tackling form (interestingly enough, a decent comparison is Deon Grant with better hands)."
- Kyle Rota on Michael Hamlin

Not the greatest recommendation, Hamlin grades out lower than Oregon's Chung (5.8 compared to 6.3). Rota cites consistent errors, inability to deliver a crushing hit and lack of fluidity as reasons to be cautious of Hamlin's abilities. Is there a positive angle too?

"While he has some value, I don’t see what people are excited for. There are a lot of safeties who become good players because they’re put in the right system and master the mental side of the game, and that will be Hamlin’s key to success, but there is nothing on tape to distinguish him from anyone else." - Kyle Rota

What do you think? Click the comments section below to have your say or email


booji said...

I think the big question is would the Hawks take Moreno at 4? I kind of doubt it, but I bet money that he's one of their top few players I could totally see them trading down a few spots in the first round and take him. That "inside the war room" feature had an interesting comment about trading down from Ruskell where he basically said that they like to go down to 7-12 or something like that, which is where Moreno projects.

Rob Staton said...

I have to believe the Seahawks could have been really keen to draft Knowshon Moreno had they been picking in the 10-15 range instead of fourth overall. Taking Moreno or Wells at No.4 is deemed unlikely simply because of the finances involved. However if you want that instant impact, someone who can come in from day one and make plays - running back offers that solution. The position does have a shorter lifespan in the NFL but they also tend to hit the ground running so to speak. You can plug a RB into your team and get an element of production, just look at Jonathan Stewart, Chris Johnson, Matt Forte etc from 2008.

The other side of the story is - Darren McFadden and Rashard Mendenhall. Barely contributed much at all due to injuries and it can be an expensive experiment if your RB is prone to knocks. The position takes so many hits, it's hard to avoid. That's one issue with Beanie Wells, but Moreno has a faultless health record despite an ultra-committed running style.

At this stage, I do not think the Seahawks will take a running back fourth overall. However, I am at pains to rule it out. Both Moreno and Wells 'fit the bill' when it comes to what Ruskell is looking for - character, production, big school, impact player. We've been surprised by Ruskell previously - maybe it happens again in 2009?

Either way I would have to agree with Kyle Rota's assesment here. I make no apologies for admitting Moreno is my 'favourite' prospect in this year's draft. I think he'll have a great career and part of me wishes that could be with the Seahawks.

Brandon said...

I will not hesitate to say that i am ignorant and learning fast, but still ignorant about player evaluation.
Please go to my site and critique what i wrote about moreno vs wells debate. After reading this, i would love your criticism if you dont mind.


Seth H. said...

I don't like Moreno are 4. If his 40 speed was better, he would probably be less a reach. But one major injury, and he'll be fullback slow. Shonn Greene is slightly faster, has good vision and is a perfect one cut back for the ZBS we'll be running, not to mention he'll be millions cheaper.

Michael Hamlin may be a solid prospect, he could learn behind Deon Grant. He may not have as good of potential as Chung but depending on who's left in the top of the second we may need to pass on him.

Rob Staton said...

Brandon - I read your article recently when I last visited your site and you made some good points. I'm by no means an expert, so I'm probably not in position to offer you a critique. However, I can offer my opinion on the two prospects. Moreno excels as a runner, receiver and blocker. He is full blooded and always finishes his runs (sometimes this is marked down against a prospect because they pick up injuries, but Moreno has a faultess health record). When I've watched Moreno, he has a knack of knowing where the first down marker is. He also consistently manages to grab crucial yards early, he constantly chips away with the 3,4,5 yard runs.

He hasn't got elite breakaway speed, but he has superb vision and cut back ability. He's very athletic and improvises in many ways to finish a run. His production behind a poor offensive line in Georgia suggests he could have an amazing NFL career. If I was to publish a 'big board', Moreno would be in my top five for sure. I think he's under rated because of the speed issue, but could be a star.

I like Beanie Wells too for different reasons. I think he's a little faster although he didn't show that at the combine. He's obviously bigger and that could play to his advantage. It also leaves him susceptible to pick up knocks and durability has been an issue with him. Moreno might not be fast but he's 4.6 in the first quarter and the last. Having seen Wells off the field in a bowl game's 4th quarter when his team needed him the most, I have reservations.

Having said that, he's physically brilliant and if he uses that gift more often, he could have Adrian Peterson type production. I don't think Wells' is the same quality of receiver or blocker as Moreno, and his cut back ability isn't on par. But just stand him next to Moreno and look at the difference physically. If he can stay healthy, he can be great.

Seth - I would personally be surprised if the Seahawks target a strong safety in this draft such as Hamlin or Chung. Neither fits perfectly the Seattle cover-2 and I have a feeling free safety could be the direction they go. Keep an eye on Louis Delmas, Derek Pegues and Rashad Johnson. They could also target Sean Smith, who has the ability to spell at CB or S as a rookie.

Brandon said...

thanks for the commentary, just for the sake of more information, wells ran a 4.38 at his pro day.

Good comments tho, im looking forward to chatting after the draft with you.

thanks again,