Friday, 1 January 2010

Any Volunteers? Part 1 of 2

As I continue to look at possible running back selections for Seattle in the 2010 draft, this report is about a couple of Tennessee Volunteers that Seattle might look at in the 2010 draft - Montario Hardesty (HB) and Dan Williams (DT). Originally I was going to scout just Hardesty but with DT being a weakness for Seattle - and Williams considered the best defensive tackle that doesn't play in the Big 12 - I couldn't pass up the opportunity to look at Williams (who I will discuss in a post immediately following this one).

First, though, let's start with Hardesty (6'0 215). After tearing his ACL in the 2005 season, Hardesty struggled to get regular playing time behind (Texans RB) Arian Foster. With a new coaching staff and a vacancy at the running back position, Hardesty enjoyed a breakout year - running for over 1300 yards and scoring 12 touchdowns.

Hardesty is a pretty interesting back. While he has enough speed to run outside the tackles on any given play (comparable speed to Maurice Morris), he primarily runs between the tackles and does that quite well. He runs a little high (at least somewhat due to a high-cut frame) and has only good initial quickness, but he is tough and fairly creative. He doesn't do a great job avoiding tackles behind the LOS, which is probably a pre-requisite to play in Seattle, but once he takes a couple of steps he shows a willingness to lower the shoulder as well as the vision and moves to work his way through traffic.

Most impressive is Hardesty's understanding of angles. While not a requirement to be an effective runner, a back who can consistently avoid taking the big hit is going to increase his chance of staying healthy in the NFL. Hardesty shows an understanding of that, spinning and sliding to pick up more yardage while also protecting his body. While he doesn't have the strength of a Toby Gerhart or Anthony Dixon, he does manage to fall forward just about as often.

What separates Hardesty from inside runners like Gerhart is his speed. Hardesty shows the ability to turn on the gas in the open field, at one point leaving a pretty athletic Georgia secondary in the dust for a long touchdown. He has some talent as a receiver, catching a deep pass on a wheel route and also doing a nice job splitting out wide and catching a screen pass - given his overall solid athleticism, he is an asset as a receiver.

Unfortunately, Hardesty has a couple of flaws that really do hurt him. He doesn't have any one skill that wows you. He impresses, but he doesn't fascinate. He's a solid athlete with the speed to work outside, but he doesn't threaten defenses the same way CJ Spiller or Jahvid Best does. He's a surprisingly good inside runner, but there are other backs like Toby Gerhart that are going to be more useful running inside. While Hardesty is a good receiver, he didn't impress me much as a blocker. He didn't miss a large number of blocks or anything like that, but he can be pushed back and really just tries to slow the rusher rather than stop him (due to a lack of lower-body strength).

A comparison I just can't shake is Maurice Morris. Both are taller, moderately fast backs with good moves and decent toughness, but lack the size to be every-down backs and the speed to be explosive gamechangers. They're useful, but I'm not sure they're terribly valuable. Hardesty is a back who is worth having on your team, but I'm not sure I'd spend anything earlier than a late third on him, just because I'm having trouble picturing Hardesty making a big impact at the NFL level.

12 comments:

Michael said...

Berry has looked very average. Actually, I'd say he has looked awful. Poor tackling display for the most part. Check out his efforts in the 3rd quarter from the 13 minute mark to the 10 minute mark. Awful.

Berry has all the makings of a Michael Huff. Buyer beware. Very Beware.

Michael said...

Oh, and I have the beginnings of a late round man crush on Crompton. He has a great arm, and has shown great progress. Granted, he looked like crap when Tennesse feel behind by more than ten, but he still looks like NFL starter material. No less so than Clausen.

Michael said...

I also like Tennesse's left tackle for right tackle in NFL. Another late round gem.

Notice I'm not big on the Tennessee skill position players. Tennessee has great line play. What does Seattle need?

Anonymous said...

Agreed. A late round flier on Crompton would not hurt and he has promising size/arm strength and has operated a real offense.

It's funny how everyone crapped on Stafford and Sanchez last year and how this year's crop was so much better. Colt McCoy has finally been exposed, Tebow (no comment), and Bradford got hurt and was not helped by having a freshman QB step in a put up big numbers in that gimmicky system.

We need a QB of the future but it would be idiotic to waste a high pick on Bradford or Clausen. I say get the pieces in place to make a push for Locker next year. At least we know he can perform under center behind a bad line while throwing to mediocre WRs. The last thing we need is to spend a high pick on a QB who has been injured both times he was sacked in his career (Bradford) or on a side-arm throwing, "look at me", I'm 6'3" minus 3 inches QB (Clausen).

Beef up the line, grab a weapon, and actually move the ball on offense. We will all be amazed how much better the defense will play when they don't have to be on the field for 45 of 60 minutes of play.

Anonymous said...

Berry looked like absolute CRAP.

memo to the next GM: Do not F this up like Ruskell would have. The team needs good OL, not another waste of a pick on defense.

andrew said...

Pushing for Locker is a mistake...I know it would be cool to have a QB that played in seattle for college but he really isnt a pro style QB and again...what are the odds of us being able to get him next year. I am a huge UT fan since my dad went there and I have been around the school a lot. Eric is a smart player who I will admit needs a bit of size added on for the NFL (thats easy) but I think he will do well if used right (not as a CB). Hardesty is definitely a good late round pickup but again as everyone knows a RB is only good if his OL can give him room to run. Crompton is a sore spot for me...He was supposed to be better then Ainge at UT because he is bigger and has a better arm...but in my honest opinion I think they used him wrong. He seems like a shotgun type of QB since he doesnt move around a lot under center unless its a bootleg. He would be a nice pickup in a later round also since nobody will be looking at him. A young QB is definitely something we need because Hasselbeck is just too old and our backups are nothing special. The OL should be our main focus...but I dont see too many standouts in the draft this year. If I were to pick one from UT i think Jacques McClendon would be perfect to help our run game.

I think that getting Hardesty, Crompton, and McClendon in the later rounds and picking up either Trent Williams or Russell Okung in the first round would be the best bet for the Seahawks.

Michael said...

Is Scott a Junior? What are your thoughts on him. Dude is huge and seemed to move well; or at least better than Willis.

Rob Staton said...

It's the kind of performance Berry has shown all year. He makes a tackle for a six yard loss at some point though so the superlatives get read out, we see a Tennessee fan hold up a sign saying 'Berry for Heisman' and all is well with the world.

CiaranH said...

I don't see the benefit in taking another late round flyer on a qb before we see what we have with Mike Teel. He looked decent in the pre-season and has pro tools, can't imagine the likes of Crompton being a step up. The dilemma is that, unfortunately, Hass is finished. He just doesn't have the arm strength to be a competent NFL quarterback anymore. If the Hawks don't address qb in the 1st round but don't belive in Teel I'd be happy taking someone like Ryan Mallett in the 2nd.

Kyle Rota said...

Ciaran - Remember that while we might not know what Teel can do, the team has been observing him in practice all year. They know him very well, and have a much better idea if he can or can't hack it than the rest of us.

Now, they could be wrong one way or another. But assuming that someone in Seahawks headquarters is filing reports for the next GM to look at, they have some idea about Teel.

(Actually was fairly impressed with Crompton in the two games I scouted. I didn't chart his passes but he showed a nice range of short and intermediate length passes, a decent arm, and a very quick release. I might go back and scout him later, depending on how this team moves forward.)

Michael - I thought Scott was a junior until I looked it up. I'm surprised I haven't heard his name more as a possible NFL pick. I was mildly impressed with him, but I wasn't paying much attention - I tend to get a tunnel vision when I'm scouting, to the point where someone has to jump off the screen to get my attention when I'm scouting someone else.

marosia said...

It will be great to watch Tennessee Volunteers, i have bought tickets from
http://ticketfront.com/event/Tennessee_Volunteers-tickets looking forward to it.

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