RENTON, Wash. — Pete Carroll was laughing when he stated it, however he wasn’t joking.
The Seattle Seahawks’ head coach was requested what he remembers in regards to the scouting of David Moore, the second-12 months huge receiver from Division II East Central College.
“The very first thing I keep in mind is the movie was actually grainy,” Carroll stated. “It was.”
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However on that grainy movie, Carroll noticed how Moore would run away from defenders after the catch and the way he would outmuscle them for the ball within the air. Moore did a variety of that whereas setting faculty data with 35 touchdowns and a couple of,776 receiving yards.
However even with all that manufacturing and Moore’s spectacular measurables, nobody might ensure how his expertise would translate to the NFL given the caliber of the competitors he confronted on the tiny school based mostly in Ada, Oklahoma.
“We did not know the way a lot that may carry over as a result of he appeared like he was larger than the blokes he was enjoying with,” Carroll stated.
Moore’s emergence as Russell Wilson’s latest weapon is answering that query. He is second on the group with 413 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns, with all 22 of his receptions coming since Week four, when he began to supplant since-launched veteran Brandon Marshall within the receiver rotation. And his largest second thus far got here when Moore helped the Seahawks rally to beat the Carolina Panthers with catches, 103 yards and the sport-tying landing.
Moore’s yards-per-catch common of 18.eight is second greatest within the league. Eight of his catches have gone for not less than 25 yards, together with a 54-yarder towards the Panthers and a 35-yard landing that tied the rating late within the fourth quarter.
His current breakout and Tyler Lockett’s profession 12 months have helped make up for the manufacturing the Seahawks have not gotten from Doug Baldwin whereas the lengthy-time No. 1 receiver has handled one damage after one other this season.
After Moore topped 100 yards towards Carolina for the primary time in his profession, Baldwin was requested if he is stunned by what he is seeing.
“By no means,” Baldwin stated. “He is a savage. He does that daily in apply, in video games when he will get his alternatives. He is a baller.”
The Seahawks constructed a few of their most profitable groups in franchise historical past with simply as many unheralded prospects as early draft picks. However of all of the mid- to late-spherical gems unearthed by normal supervisor John Schneider and his scouting division, none got here from a college fairly as small and obscure as East Central — which Carroll jokingly referred to as “Directionally Oklahoma” earlier this season when he could not keep in mind the precise identify.
Moore grew up about 100 miles away in Gainesville, Texas, and ended up at ECU when he did not obtain any Division I gives.
The college’s web site lists an enrollment of three,600 college students. The varsity is situated in Ada, Oklahoma, which has a inhabitants of about 17,00zero — lower than 1 / 4 of what the Seahawks pack into CenturyLink Area on sport days.
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ECU’s record of NFL alumni embody New York Jets move-dashing nice Mark Gastineau, a linebacker named Cliff Thrift who made two begins for the 1985 Chicago Bears and … not a lot else. It is not the kind of program that usually produces sufficient NFL expertise to warrant holding an annual professional day, which left Moore in a bind as he was getting ready for the 2017 draft. After some lobbying, he was in a position to attend the professional day at close by Central Oklahoma.
The UCO professional day is strategically scheduled between these of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in order that NFL scouts can cease by the campus in Edmond, Oklahoma, on their manner from Norman to Stillwater. The night time earlier than Moore was set to work out, a bunch of scouts took guesses over beers as to how briskly he would run.
Those that hadn’t seen him up shut figured that at nearly 6-foot-1 and 220 kilos, the very best he’d do was within the four.6 vary. Those that had seen him advised the others they had been in for a shock.
Moore had been on the Seahawks’ radar since his junior season thanks to a connection between his then-offensive coordinator Rashad Jackson and one of many group’s space scouts, Aaron Hineline, whose territory on the time included Oklahoma.
Hineline timed Moore’s greatest run at four.37. Moore additionally put up 26 bench-press reps at 225 kilos, which, for reference, was greater than any receiver had executed on the scouting mix since 2011.
These bodily traits plus Moore’s psychological make-up and coachability helped persuade them that he might deal with the large adjustment in competitors and scheme within the NFL. They spent a seventh-spherical decide to discover out.
Moore was at residence with household and buddies on draft day, enjoying basketball, barbecuing and doing no matter he might to keep away from watching it on TV.
“I used to be simply ready for one thing, simply something,” he stated. “I used to be preparing [to go] undrafted.”
When the Seahawks made the shocking transfer to reduce veteran move-rusher Dwight Freeney final season, Moore was a part of the choice.
He had spent nearly the primary three months of his rookie season on the apply squad and his promotion was the corresponding transfer. Carroll defined that the Seahawks had introduced him up as a result of one other group had tried to signal him. That group, in accordance to a supply, was the Indianapolis Colts, who had tried to promote Moore on a future with Andrew Luck, who could be again the subsequent season from his shoulder damage.
“It wasn’t exhausting in any respect, truthfully,” Moore stated of the choice to keep in Seattle.
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When he was inactive for his first 5 video games, it confirmed how extremely the Seahawks considered Moore’s potential. They wished to keep away from dropping him sufficient to use a roster spot on him whereas he wasn’t even contributing.
He wasn’t prepared to.
Carroll talked about former Seahawk Golden Tate as a receiver who was equally gradual to blossom. Tate had additionally performed baseball at Notre Dame, which stored him from collaborating in spring ball and thereby stalled his improvement.
“There was quite a bit to be desired about scheme and approach and elegance of play and all that sort of stuff,” Carroll stated of what he noticed from Moore in school.
However for all of the justifiable considerations about how uncooked Moore was, he confirmed what Carroll described as “pure instincts” on his landing catch late within the sport towards the Panthers. Moore beat a press off the road of scrimmage, and because the ball was within the air, he waited till the final second to deliver his arms as to not tip off the cornerback that it was about to arrive.
“That is massive-time savvy and he pulled it off nice,” Carroll stated.
It was one other occasion of the receiver with the small-faculty pedigree exhibiting his massive-play capacity.
“There’s nothing that David Moore cannot do,” Wilson stated.