With the 2012 NFL season in the books, and the scouting combine in the rear-view, it's time to take a closer look at the 50 players we think will be the biggest difference-makers at the next level from this draft class. To that end, we're happy to continue this year's Shutdown 50 scouting reports (Hint: There may actually be more than 50). You can read last year's group here. The final 50 players were chosen and ranked based on game tape, combine and Pro Day results, overall positional value, and attributes and liabilities on and off the field.
#29: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
We continue this year's series with Texas A&M defensive end Damontre Moore, who started his collegiate career as Von Miller's backup at the "Joker" position, highlighting his versatility and overall talent. He amassed 18 solo tackles, 5.5 sacks, and a team-leading three forced fumbles as a true freshman in 2010, and stepped into Miller's role in 2011 with aplomb when Miller went on to the NFL. Moore bagged 41 solo tackles, 8.5 sacks, and four forced fumbles in his sophomore campaign, even bigger things were expected of him as A&M moved to the SEC. He lived up to expectations with 57 solo tackles and 12.5 sacks in 2012, leading him to leave school for a seemingly bright NFL future.
However, he ran an official 4.95 40 at the scouting combine and put up a distressingly low 12 reps in the 225-pound bench press, leaving teams and analysts to head back to his game tape to pick out the inevitable flaws. The hamstring injury he suffered during his first 40 prevented him from re-trying in Indianapolis, or at his pro day in March.
''There's a lot of people that put up really good numbers that don't end up playing at all,'' A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said after Moore's pro day. ''So, I think the key with him is going to be the evaluation off video and how he played. Certainly people wouldn't regard him the way they do as a projected first-round pick if he hadn't played so well. He played with great effort, was extremely productive and had a tremendous year for us last year.''
No doubt, and there are indeed many players who transcend their test numbers with what teams see on tape. However, and as impressively as Moore plays at times, there's work to be done before he'll be able to fully realize his tremendous athletic potential.
Pros: Shows good power and agility between the tackles when getting to the quarterback; pushes through trash and has good awareness to stay active. Tracks ballcarriers in the open field and makes hustle plays other ends his size might not. Has the upper-body strength to rock blockers back as he's rushing. Dynamic tackler when he hits a runner square-on and can use his size to wrap up. Superior power player when he builds up a head of steam -- will bang off multiple blockers and get to the quarterback. Occasionally hits inside on a stunt and just demolishes a guard.
Stacks and sheds very well, Moore has strong hands and will be better in that regard with time and more technique work. Good zone-read defender who will patiently diagnose the action at the line and move quickly to the quarterback with discipline. Can drop to cover tight ends from inline or the slot -- does it with his size and awareness more than pure speed. Drops the hammer with increasing efficiency as a force tackler; led the Big 12 with four forced fumbles in 2011. Tackle-for-loss monster who stopped 21 plays behind the line in 2012.
Cons: Heavy-footed off the line -- Moore doesn't have a noticeable burst from the snap. Tends to stomp through pressure as opposed to using quickness. Gets pushed to the side in run defense and doesn't consistently wrap up to tackle in space. Needs to explode with better leverage -- comes off the ball too high and robs himself of power. Struggles to turn and move back in the pocket once he's been pushed out. Lack of official 40 time at his pro day does nothing to dispel concerns regarding Moore's on-field speed. Does not project well as a 3-4 outside pass-rusher, despite his seemingly ideal size (6-foot-5, 250).
Conclusion: In today's pass-heavy NFL, people who can get to the quarterback are more important than ever, which sometimes leads to the ends who do multiple things well to be devalued. I don't see Moore turning it up and becoming a 15-sack guy or more (like his predecessor Miller, a rare athlete), but this is a player who will stop the run, loop inside to stop offensive concepts, and make key tackles for loss. A few 10-sack seasons should be the order of the day, though if Moore develops better leverage and hand usage, there might be even more on his future. But he's worth a first-round selection because of his versatility, and because of the potential that so tantalizingly pops off the tape. If Damontre Moore ever puts it all together, he will be a real force in the NFL. And even if you bet the middle, he's still going to be a high-quality player in the right system.