In the hazy late high-school years, when everyone I knew was an artist, writer, musician and likely all three, we would fidget in our self-made haze and talk our grand futures. One satellite friend had a bad drinking problem and big plans to make home-made acid. He envisioned himself one-part Hunter Thompson and two-parts Neil Cassady. Last I knew he was penitentiary bound.
It's not enough to have the bad habits of the great to be great. Flunking out of school doesn't make someone Albert Einstein. Nor does a bad drinking problem make someone a writer. Devin Moore played in the MWC. He was not invited to the NFL Combine and he did not get drafted. He has good straight line speed that shows itself on returns, and surprising tackle-breaking ability for someone his size.
His size is 5'9 ½", 191. The height is fine, but the weight is a problem. He is almost exactly the same size as Warrick Dunn, but Dunn dominated at Florida State in a way Moore couldn't dominate at Wyoming. Rushers Moore's size rarely excel in the NFL, and Moore has yet to prove he can contribute on anything but sweeps and tosses. He hasn't set the world on fire with his sweeps and tosses, either. He is averaging 2.65 yards per carry on 23 rushes and hasn't caught a pass.
Moore's speed got him an invite to the NFL. He broke some at Wyoming, but not as many as one might think. He held a private workout at a facility near Indianapolis International Airport and impressed with a 4.41 forty among other strong measurables. There's two big problems with that time. The first is that times recorded outside the NFL Combine are often inflated. I don't know the quality of the surface and because it was private, there is no "control" to judge Moore against. Beanie Wells ran an ugly 4.59 forty at the NFL Combine, but then ran a 4.38 at the Buckeyes pro day. That second number segues to Moore's other problem: 4.41 is not that fast.
2008 didn't produce a strong running back class and Moore's 4.41 would have in fact topped the Combine's leader board. An average class would have produced faster, heavier running backs with better production against top competition. In a broad sense, if you want to be as small as Moore, you need to be as fast as Chris Johnson. Johnson was taken in the first round and exploded on the NFL. If Moore ran as fast as Johnson, he might have been selected in the first round too. Or at least the first day.
That is one more fact working against Moore. Non-drafted running backs sometimes find success. The publicity enjoyed by players like Ryan Grant makes it seem almost everyday. That's a phenomenon known as the media paradox. Abnormal stories are newsworthy, and, excuse me, viral, so the information is disseminated from source to person and from person to person until people fear shark attack more than, say, sepsis. Death by shark is a bit less likely than Moore becoming a regular, but about as likely as Moore becoming a star. A player like Moore will likely be available after next year's draft, just as Dantrell Savage was available in 2008.
Greatness makes the peculiarities noteworthy. Without writing, Dylan Thomas is another drunk dead in an anonymous hospital bed, Friedrich Nietzsche only a mad man, and Edna St. Vincent Millay another brewer dabbling in bisexuality. Without success, Moore is another late-round flier soon forgotten, and never known were he not a Seahawk. Never known if we were not a bit obsessive. That he attended a small school and was not invited to the NFL Combine and did not get drafted dramatically reduce his chances of making it in the NFL.
With good depth at running back, and great injury histories for all three projected starters, what can Seattle expect from Moore in 2009? What upside does he have over a street free agent or rusher on another team's practice squad? And what purpose would he serve on Seattle's practice squad? Nothing, none and no purpose unless he makes a phenomenal splash this Thursday.