Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Muench on Spiller: He needs to show toughness

I'm a fan of Clemson's running back C.J. Spiller and I think he's someone the Seahawks may monitor. Greg Knapp wants a running back who can be used for any play call and someone who can be effective in pass protection or as a receiver. Spiller does all those things well and he's a very capable return man on kick offs and punts. But Steve Muench from Scouts Inc wants to see more from Spiller before he gets to the NFL:

"Spiller continues to be very impressive from an athletic standpoint, showing the ability to get to the second level quickly and make defenders miss once there, and the speed to run away from the defense when he gets to daylight. He ripped off a 66-yard touchdown run on which he pressed the line of scrimmage well and got the defense flowing to the hole, then used his vision to see the cutback lane and hesitated just enough to let the pursuit run past. Spiller then hit the seam and was gone in a flash.

"However, we were surprisingly disappointed with his effort and competitiveness at times. Spiller was seen running out of bounds when he could have lowered his shoulder and picked up a few more yards. The bottom line, though, is that Spiller has the physical tools to make plays at the NFL level. He needs to sharpen some areas of his game but still projects as a late-first-round pick." - Steve Muench, Scouts Inc

I would agree with Muench's grading for Spiller, the late first round seems a good fit for someone who can be a threat every time he has the ball, but would probably be better suited in a two back system.

Muench also reviewed the Iowa vs Wisconsin game, offering some thoughts on offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga in the process:

"Bulaga showed he is quick enough to get into good position against speed as both a run and pass blocker. We would like to see him get more movement in the running game against smaller players like Schofield, but Bulaga did wall him off effectively and keep him out of plays. Bulaga also got into his pass sets quickly and established good initial position, though he does not show a violent initial punch and Schofield was able to knock his hands down and get around him on occasion. Bulaga was also caught flat-footed on a spin move at one point. In the end, Bulaga showed enough to remain in the late-first or early-second round range." - Steve Muench, Scouts Inc

Undoubtedly running back and offensive tackle are two positions the Seahawks will be focusing on over the next few drafts. The offensive line has been beaten up with injuries but you have to believe the Seahawks aren't going to give up on their project to transfer Sean Locklear to left tackle so quickly. This decision may even be made for them with a relatively poor 2010 class of left tackle's. Charles Brown (USC) is my favorite so far, but I want to see him in action a couple more times before I make a full judgement.


Neil Christensen said...

Toughness? This guy hasn't watched the same Clemson games I have. Spiller consistently breaks tackles in both the run and return game. He adeptly picks up blitzes in pass pro and is clearly a great player on a mediocre team. I think just like QBs you have to look for the guys who shine without the supporting cast. Spiller would be a killer pickup for the Hawks. We definitely could use his explosive play every game.

swamp_fox said...

Awesome job, Rob. I love reading up on your view on these prospects as the season progresses, while checking your thinking against "the experts."

I'm ready for Spiller / Best and Bulaga / Brown in neon green next year. Let's transform this offense. Hopefully Locker and Clausen stay another year so we can pick one up in '11.

Patrick said...

My thoughts exactly Swamp_fox! I'm ready for Spiller/ Best and Bulaga/ Brown as well. I just read that Sam Bradford's going to have season ending surgery. Hmm... this could be interesting. If he decides to declare, you could probably see his draft stock fall to maybe mid-first round. Could he end up being a steal? It worries me about the injuries, but I mean hiss upside just seems too high. I wouldn't mind Seahawks grabbing him.

Rob Staton said...

Neil - I would agree. I've not seen much evidence of a lack of 'toughness'. I'm not sure going out of bounds is such a bad thing - sure, I loved watching Knowshon Moreno always look for another guy to beat, but essentially you don't want a RB to be reckless. I've watched him carry the load in games this year on his own at RB... not get tired, keep making plays till the end. That shows a good engine and yes, toughness. Now, I still think he'll be most effective in a two-back system, but that's not because he needs to show more. As you say, the Seahawks could use a guy who's a threat to score every time he touches the ball and you can use him in so many ways.

swampfox - thanks for the positive feedback. Please, always feel welcome to leave your thoughts in the comments section. I like your thinking with regard building up the core offense and in certain situations, a combo of Spiller/Best and then a Brown or even Bulaga (need to see more on him) would be a great way to start. Obviously it doesn't leave an ideal situation at QB and if a young guy has to be brought in - sooner the better because we're at a time now where we must groom someone to eventually replace Matt. If we don't and do draft a QB in 2011 or even 2012, we need to be prepared to sit that guy in the immediate and not rush him in. Despite the relative success of Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco, it's the exception not the rule. We've seen the other side of the coin - Matt Stafford suffering a knee injury and Mark Sanchez throwing 5 picks in an ugly loss to the Bills at home.

Patrick - I agree, Bradford would be good value if certain fears can be laid to rest and if he can prove his health. He's very accurate, which is always key, and he has a very mature personality. We'll have to see how surgery affects his stock.