Tuesday, 2 March 2010

POTD: Montario Hardesty, RB, Tennessee


By Kip Earlywine

I figured I'd squeeze this one in before Rob's mock tomorrow. Good stuff.

Height: 6'0"
Weight: 225
40 time: 4.49



Positives:

  • Easily visible acceleration
  • Good running instincts and vision
  • Very nice cut-making ability
  • Decisive, no dancing
  • Good combination of size and speed
  • Natural athlete
  • Powerful, relentless runner who fights for yards
  • Very good inside rusher
  • Impressive start/stop
  • Explosive lateral step
  • Some shiftiness
  • Dangerous and reliable pass catcher (302 yards in '09)
  • Good willingness as a pass blocker
  • Good ball security
  • Productive 2009
  • Great work ethic and attitude

Negatives:

  • Injuries in '08, '07, and '05 (including an ACL which he recovered from)
  • Not a true big play threat
  • Not much of an outside runner
  • Potential one year wonder
  • YPC is lower than I expected it would be
  • Leans forward and falls down a lot
  • Poor balance?
  • Bit of a high runner
  • Already 23 years old

My thoughts:

Hardesty is pretty much exactly the kind of RB the Seahawks should be looking for. His burst, vision, and cut-making ability are all above average, and his inside running ability might be the best I've seen so far among this year's RB group (I haven't yet watched Best). Zone puts a really big emphasis on inside running so this will make Hardesty a really appealing option to needy zone teams like Philly, Washington, and Seattle. He also had 307 total touches last season so he gives Seattle a needed workhorse option- if he stays healthy.

Injuries kind of headline the issues for Hardesty though. He didn't miss a lot of time from them (other than his true freshman ACL), but having been injured in 3 of his 5 seasons has to be considered at least a little bit concerning, especially if the team wants to rely on him for 50+% of the team's carries.

Hardesty also doesn't bring a true big play threat, at least not as a rusher (he's comparable to Forsett on screens, pretty shifty and dangerous and with more speed).

Hardesty had a very good showing at the combine, and I think anyone who sees Hardesty as a late round option is deeply misguided. Given the needs for RB and an unspectacular class, I'd be a little surprised if Hardesty reaches the 3rd round.

In summary, Hardesty made an outstanding first impression with me and he's the first back I've viewed so far who checked every one of my criteria for an ideal ZBS RB prospect. Getting him could be tricky, as he'd be a reach at #40 but no way does he reach our 4th rounder, IMO. Still, he'd be a great addition to the team and it won't surprise me if the Seahawks maneuver on draft day to target him. Hardesty still has room to improve and sometimes one year wonders become breakout players. I'd be excited if the Seahawks drafted him.

5 comments:

FWBrodie said...

I like Hardesty a lot. I see a bigger, faster, stronger, and more agile Julius Jones plus an excellent nose for the endzone. He even busts out the spin move on a regular basis like Jones, although Montario's is nastier. He's a determined runner, but not quite powerful. I wonder why he didn't demonstrate much breakaway speed at Tennessee even though he timed very well at the combine and what IS with the low per-carry average?

Even though he's an older prospect he hasn't had too many carries. The injuries may have taken just as much of a toll on his body as a ton of carries anyway though. The falling down thing Kip mentioned could be an adaptation to the injury problem. Sort of a Shaun-Alexanderesque fall down to avoid getting hurt thing.

I think if Hardesty was 21 and didn't have the injury history he'd be solidly in the early second round conversation, but I'd be happy if the Seahawks were able to move into the middle third round to snag him. I think he'd be a significant upgrade. I wouldn't reach any further though since the draft is pretty loaded with 3rd/4th round RB talent.

CLanterman said...

A month ago, it seemed like the only RBs to be drafted in the first 3 rounds would be Spiller, Dwyer, Best, Matthews, and maybe McKnight. Now Tate and Hardesty seem to have moved up, along with some others. What a shame, because I do think it would be nice to get a RB in the 4th round, though if we happen to run across a Mewelde Moore or Correll Buckhalter in free agency, I'd be fine with that.

Wes said...

Thanks for doing one for Hardesty.

I feel pretty much the same way you do. He seems like the ideal one cut zone back. I just love the size and athleticism, and it seems like he has a full package of skill. how is his pass blocking?

Anyways, like you said, it is a bit frustrating that the hawks do not have a 3rd round pick, as that really would be the place to target a guy like Hardesty or Brandon tate. Will there be a POTD for Tate?

But I would be thrilled if the hawks got Hardesty, even if it was at 40. Rob's new mock, if it went Clausen, Brown and hardesty with the first 3 picks would have me jumping for joy. That is an 8+ year offensive core right there

Kip Earlywine said...

I had a detailed response for all 3 of you, and it ate my comment AFTER I published it. What a crock. So here's the short version.

I too had thoughts of SA when I saw him falling down. Hardesty is also more than happy to take a non-violent escort to the sideline too.

Clanterman, I hope we get a 3rd rounder. With so many teams hungry for zone runners this year, I think we'll see the last of the best runners snatched up somewhere in the 3rd.

Yes, there will be a preview for Tate, probably tomorrow. BTW I couldn't form my own opinion of Hardesty's pass blocking but that's one area that is really easy to trust other opinions. I looked up scouting reports on Hardesty and the consensus was that he was a decent blocker thanks to his very high effort.

Cannon said...

Does Hardesty remind anyone else of Thomas Jones? Watching that YouTube video all I could think of was how much he ran like Thomas Jones. He doesn't have break-away speed, but he runs very well and has good balance and he keeps driving his legs. I have to agree with you Kip, I'd be excited if the 'Hawks managed to draft Hardesty in the middle of round three or four.