Just the other day, it was announced that Texas A&M DE Damontre Moore was going to declare for the 2013 NFL Draft. He adds even more depth to what looks like an extremely talented pass rushing class. Scouts are surely going to love the fact that Moore has tape at both OLB (which he played prior to the 2012 season) as well as at DE, which he predominately played this season. Moore impressed last year, but really shined this year, as he tallied 12.5 sacks and 20 tackles for loss. He also led the Aggies in total tackles with 80. This tackle number doesn’t come as a major surprise to me after watching him, because one of the things that stands out most about Moore is the fact that his motor is constantly running. He consistently shows open field range, and max effort in pursuit. As a result, Moore has made several plays from behind on ball carriers.
One of the most impressive things Moore does as as a run defender is getting flat down the line of scrimmage, and taking the best possible angle in order to make a play on the ball carrier. Moore’s at his best as a run defender when he is able to turn his shoulder into the on-coming block, reducing the surface area available for the lineman to grab a hold of. Pictured below is an example of one of these plays. When the offensive linemen steps down to make his block, Moore has already turned his shoulder into him, and is proceeding to make his way flat across the line of scrimmage. The blocker doesn’t have enough surface area to grab, or the foot quickness to keep up with Moore, who is able to chase down this play.
Part of the reason that Moore is able to chase down the RB so frequently is due to the fact that he displays discipline that many pass rushers lack. On a play similar to the one pictured above, many pass rushers would charge up the field, run themselves out of the play, and potentially give the running back a massive cut back lane. When I talk about “getting flat” down the line of scrimmage, the objective for a defensive end is to keep his shoulders parallel to the line of scrimmage (until the last possible moment when they need to turn and run downfield, or make a tackle) and to stay within a one yard radius of the line of scrimmage. This ensures that the ball carrier will not have a lane to cut back through.
When taking on blocks directly, Damontre struggles a little bit more. Larger offensive tackles have seemingly been able to engulf him, and he doesn’t quite hold the point as well you’d like when up against these opponents. However, Moore has more than enough strength to dominate a TE in a one on one matchup. Pictured below is an example of this in which Florida attempted to block him on a running play with just TE Jordan Reed.
As a pass rusher, I feel as if Moore shares a lot of similarities with himself as a run defender. What I mean by this is that Moore is absolutely lethal when he mitigates the surface area for the offensive tackle to block. Moore’s favorite and most successful pass rushing move is to engage with his inside arm, while simultaneously dipping his inside shoulder. When engaging with the inside arm into the middle of the chest, it makes it extremely difficult for the offensive tackle to bend and block Moore. This is where Moore gains a tremendous advantage, as I think he is able to bend around the corner as well as anyone in the class. This pass rushing technique is also useful due to the fact that it keeps Moore’s outside arm completely free to make a tackle.
As I said earlier, Moore’s pass rushing game mirrors his run defense very well in my opinion. I’ve found that when Moore attempts to lock into his blocker with both arms, and attempt to work more of a bull rush technique, he struggles. I’m not sure if he has the functional strength to win like this, but I do know that part of the reason that he struggles with the style of pass rush is due to his inconsistent aiming point.
Another thing that’s likely to be looked at as a detriment in Moore’s game is that he’s not tremendously explosive off the line of scrimmage. Moore has a solid first step, but it does take some time to get his momentum going. However, I feel as if Moore is able to counter this weakness with the fact that he does display good bend, short area quickness, and change of direction skills. Also, Moore seems to have a good “feel” for the snap count, and is able to off-set his weakness in this way.
All in all, Damontre Moore is an extremely talented prospect, who is likely to thrive as either a defensive end or an outside linebacker. I think that due to his range, and ability to work down the line, he might be better suited for OLB. In either scenario, I would like to see Moore add strength in order to have more success when engaged at the point of attack. Still though, I think his overall skill set, especially his ability to bend around the corner, makes him a potential Pro Bowler at the next level. At this moment, I also find him to be a superior prospect to the more hyped Jarvis Jones.