It’s time for another installment of my “2013 Mock Draft Analysis!” On Monday, Josh Sanchez of Fansided.com unveiled his new and updated 2013 NFL Mock Draft. In his Mock, Sanchez projected the following player to be selected by the Steelers with their 1st Round pick:
Damontre Moore, Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, Texas A&M
The Steelers need to add youth to the Defensive unit and need to add depth after releasing James Harrison. Moore is a talented prospect who is sliding because of poor combine tests, but the kid can flat out ball. Moore would provide the Steelers with a pass rush and he could immediately step in to a camp battle with Jason Worilds, who has not won over the Coaching Staff.
As a player, Moore would be a terrific fit as an Outside Linebacker in Dick LeBeau’s 3-4 Defense. It is certainly tough to overlook Damontre’s productivity as a pass-rusher at the collegiate level (2011: 72 Tackles, 8.5 Sacks, 17.5 TFL’s), and he particularly “tore things up” during his Senior campaign (85 Tackles, 12.5 Sacks, 21.5 TFL’s) with the Aggies.
Also helping Moore’s (6’4″ 260 lbs., added 10 lbs. after The Combine) case to be an early-1st Round selection is the fact that he gained experience as a “Down” Defensive End and “Joker” (DE/OLB Hybrid) at Texas A&M. That type of positional versatility could allow for him to play, and play early at least in sub-packages, in a complex 3-4 scheme like Pittsburgh’s.
For all of Moore’s talent and projected upside though, he has done little this offseason to convince N.F.L. scouts that he is truly worth a high-1st Round investment. Damontre not only struggled at The N.F.L. Scouting Combine from a performance perspective, but his injured hamstring (which he sustained there) also kept him limited at his Pro Day workout too.
To his credit though, Moore did extremely well in his Broad Jump (122.0″) and Vertical Jump (35.5″) workouts in Indianapolis. Yet Damontre’s less than stellar showings in the 40 Yard Dash (4.94 at The Combine) and Bench Press (12 reps of 225 lbs., lowest of 37 D-Linemen at Combine, 19 reps at Pro Day) could potentially be “red-flags” for franchises who were at one time more-than-willing to draft him in the Top 15. If Moore cannot validate or illustrate the same type of consistent speed, strength, and agility he showed on tape at Texas A&M, he could have issues convincing a team that he can become an effective Pass-Rusher at the professional level.
In addition to his sub-par workouts, the former Aggie Pass-Rusher also has some “character questions” to answer over the next month and a half as well. For instance, Moore was arrested for Marijuana Possession before the 2011 season began. The off-field questions surrounding Moore have only heated up since the offseason period started though. In fact, one scout apparently went so far as to say that Damontre was a “a mess off the field.” What the scout meant by “mess” is up for debate, but it certainly isn’t a positive thing to hear for a Pass-Rusher-needy franchise interested in drafting Moore on Day 1.
Regardless of whether or not the Steelers use their 1st Round selection on an Outside Linebacker, they must address that need through the Draft at some point. Veteran James Harrison is gone, and the rest of Pittsburgh’s depth are enormous question marks at this point, including LaMarr Woodley.
Is a prospect like Moore worth the risk to a franchise like the Steelers? We will just have to wait until April. But if the Steelers want to improve their anemic pass-rush from last year, it might be wise for them to select the best Pass-Rusher available who can also fit their Defensive scheme at the earliest possible time.
Stats Courtesy of: Texas A&M
Heights & Weights Courtesy of: NFL.com Scouting Combine Page