´ Steel Curtain Rising: Steelers Sign Minnesota’s Mewelde Moore - A Telling Trial of Tomlin as a Talent Evaluator?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Steelers Sign Minnesota’s Mewelde Moore - A Telling Trial of Tomlin as a Talent Evaluator?

The Steelers made a minor move in free agency yesterday by signing Minnesota running back Mewelde Moore. They project that he will work as a kick returner and compete for the third down back duties.

At pure face value, this move makes sense as it addresses two need areas. It is hard to offer more than this superficial analysis.

Moore’s played spot duty in Minnesota, and garnered some decent stats, both as a back up and an occasional starter. His punt and kick return numbers are not stellar, but he could easily be an upgrade.

Are the Steelers tipping their hand as to what they really think of Najeh Davenport? Davenport was a great unknown going into 2007, a career back up with an injury history, but otherwise decent stats in limited playing time.

The Steelers talked good game about having confidence in Davenport, but the fact that they didn’t even once try to pound the ball in at the goal line against New England speaks volumes. Davenport did show flashes, but overall Davenport did little to indicate that he was anything beyond a serviceable back up.

Regardless, this move could tell us a lot more than the Steelers’ real feelings about Davenport. Moore is coming in form Minnesota, so it is a safe assumption that Mike Tomlin had a big role in his acquisition.

Therefore, this move bears watching because it serves as another test of Tomlin’s ability to evaluate free agent talent. One of the real knocks against Tomlin in his rookie year were his personnel moves. Sean Mann’s play at center was woeful at best, and Andre Rosseum’s play at kick returner was extraordinarily average.

These were Tomlin’s two signature signings, and both decisions turned out to be pretty poor. It will be revealing to see how Tomlin fares in this third test.

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