Last week, the Jets signed claimed rookie offensive lineman David Moore off waivers from the Carolina Panthers. Today, we’ll be breaking him down in detail.
The 23-year old Moore is listed at 6’3” and 320 pounds and was undrafted out of Grambling State. He started to make a name for himself during senior bowl week back in January after playing in 25 games with 14 starts for the Tigers in his college career.
Moore only played two years of high school football, but made good progress as he was voted all-conference in his first year and all-state in his second season.
He eventually opted to attend Grambling State where he redshirted the 2016 season and made seven appearances in a reserve role in 2017.
In 2018, he made the first five starts of his career while playing in nine games overall and then was a full time starter in 2019, making nine starts.
Due to the disruption from the pandemic during the 2020 season, Grambling State ended up cancelling all their games and Moore opted out to focus on the draft. However, he was invited to the senior bowl.
It was there that his stock started to rise as he had several splashy plays in practice that went viral on social media and was voted as the practice player of the week by his peers, alleviating concerns that he was untested against top level prospects.
However, he was inconsistent in the game itself and ultimately went unselected in the draft, to the surprise of many. He signed as an undrafted free agent with the Panthers but was waived last week and claimed by the Jets.
Now let’s take a look at what Moore brings to the table, divided into categories.
Moore is listed at 6’3” and 320 by the Jets but that may not be entirely accurate. He actually measured in at just over 6’1½” and 350 at the senior bowl. However, he cut weight and was back down to 330 in time for his pro day six weeks later.
At the pro day, he impressed with his speed, strength and power as he ran a sub-5.2 in the 40-yard dash and posted 31 bench press reps and a 105-inch broad jump. His agility numbers were poor though.
Although he only managed a 27.5-inch vertical jump, Moore can reportedly dunk a basketball and perform a backflip so he is regarded as a bit of an athletic freak.
Despite being short and not having particularly long arms, Moore has a decent wingspan due to his thick frame. He also has powerful legs, fueled by what he refers to as his “God-given turkey leg calves”.
Moore mostly played at left guard with the Tigers but did also make some appearances at right guard and worked at the center position in practice.
He built on that potential versatility at the senior bowl by taking reps at both guard positions and at center, including in the game itself. He also worked at both guard and center with the Panthers at training camp and over the spring.
In high school, Moore played on both sides of the ball as he was also an effective defensive tackle.
Playing at the FCS level meant that Moore was largely untested against top level talent and obviously has some rawness to his game as he doesn’t have that much in terms of game experience.
However, his performance at practice during senior bowl week changed perceptions on Moore because of how well he handled his pass blocking assignments against some good interior defensive line prospects.
The game itself, however, underlined the fact that there are still a few holes in his game. At his size, it can be difficult for him to cope with sudden quickness from explosive linemen. On this play, he is beaten too easily across the face to allow his man into the backfield.
For much of the rest of the game, he was employed in situations where he was either double-teaming or left spare so he could go looking for work. That prevented him from being exposed to too many one-on-one assignments.
There are some signs of real potential here, both in that practice film and some of his game film from during the season. He’s aggressive, will extend his arms to buy himself additional time to handle counters and has the strength to anchor well against a bull rush.
For a big man, he is light on his feet and balanced in his sets as well as having the explosiveness to step across and recover if his man gets a half-step on him. However, one thing to watch is that he will often over-extend when recovering which could make him susceptible to smart pass rushers who will gain an initial advantage and then be patient enough to wait for him to over-extend when recovering, before hitting him with a delayed counter.
As you’d expect, Moore was able to dominate up front at the FCS level just based on the fact that he was so much bigger than his opposition most of the time.
However, he doesn’t just win by overpowering his man at the point of attack because he shows an impressive ability to get on the move, peel off to the second level and find a target at the second level. On this play he pulls left and locks onto his target to drive him back off the line even though the play only goes for a short gain.
On this play he makes the combo block at the point of attack and then peels off to take out another defender on the outside to open up a running lane.
The main weakness in his game as far as run blocking is concerned is that he’ll allow players to fight off his block late in the play, although this is often after he’s blocked them off the line to affect the play positively. He also perhaps doesn’t dominate quite as much at the point of attack as you might expect given his size and low center of gravity.
Grambling had plenty of success in short yardage situations with Moore being a factor because it’s difficult to stand him up or get any penetration against him. He fires out of his stance well but doesn’t always get the movement you might expect in the trenches.
By way of an example, he allows his man to stack him up and get off the block to make the play in the hole on 4th-and-short. However, it’s good enough to give the ball carrier room to get to the marker.
Grambling State would use the screen pass from time to time and Moore has the athleticism to get out in front of the ball carrier and make impact blocks in space.
As noted, Moore has pretty good feet although this can fall apart a little when he loses leverage and battles to recover. However, his punch power and length are effective weapons when pass protecting and he has a good knack for repelling spin moves and counters.
His hand placement needs work as he can be late to get his hands on his man and pass rushers can win the fight to get his hands off them.
As noted, in the running game, he’ll often allow his man to get off his block. That’s often because when driving his man back he lacks control and patience. His hand placement can be inconsistent here too.
Moore had a few false starts and holding penalties with the Tigers but his penalty count wasn’t very high overall. Nevertheless, he does risk getting called for holding while he battles to keep control of his block.
On this outside run, he ruins a great job right at the end of the play by grabbing the jersey of a defensive back that he has pulled out in front of and dominated in space.
Unsurprisingly, Moore’s only special teams contributions in college were occasional snaps as a blocker on the placekicking unit.
As noted, Moore was often employed as a spare man during the senior bowl, which required him to keep his head on a swivel and go looking for work. He was used to doing the same with the Tigers too. He reacts well here as the guard picks up the rusher coming off the edge.
Scouting reports indicate he can be inconsistent in his recognition of pressure packages but he does a solid job in terms of picking up the stunting end here.
Moore is another Jets addition who has solid football character. It’s perhaps surprising that Moore was released by the Panthers given that head coach Matt Rhule had raved about his attitude, praising his work ethic, character and demeanor. Moore describes himself as goofy and lovable.
On the field, he has a nasty streak and there are plenty of examples of him knocking, shoving or tossing players to the ground. In pass protection particularly, he’ll often be the aggressor, going after his man to dish out some punishment.
In fact, there were arguably situations where his going after a defender meant that the integrity of the pocket fell apart so this might be something that is discouraged by his coaches at the NFL level.
Moore played in 18 of 22 games over his last two seasons at Grambling but it’s unclear whether he was injured in the games he missed or what the nature or severity of any injury may have been. The main concern with him may be his weight - he was apparently as heavy as 355 back in 2017.
Based on the senior bowl, you might have questioned whether Moore was athletic enough for a system like the one the Jets will run, but the numbers he put up at his pro day after cutting weight, together with some of his Tigers film suggest that hopefully he is.
The Tigers mostly ran a zone-blocking scheme so he is well-versed in that kind of system. In the senior bowl game, his team ran more of a mixture of zone and gap blocking, which may be part of the reason why he struggled.
Moore has a lot of impressive plays in his film, albeit that most of them are against inferior opposition so there will be a big jump to the NFL level and a lot of refinement to his technique required.
He has probably been brought in more as a long-term project than as an option to contribute immediately. However, multiple other teams tried to claim him on waivers so it seems like he’s viewed as a player with plenty of potential around the league, so if they want to keep him with a view towards grooming him to contribute in a year or two, they might have to do so as a roster stash.
It is slightly concerning that the Panthers gave up on him so early, though. Hopefully this is a sign that they had a logjam in terms of long-term prospects and wanted to give him a chance to play elsewhere in preseason rather than indicating he couldn’t cut it at this level.