“Over/Under” is a glance at a pair of players at each position; one who TDR believes in overrated, and one who we believe is underrated.
OVER: Damontre Moore, Texas A&M
At one point this off-season, Moore was in the conversation for the best overall player available in this draft. Even though his stock has cooled quite a bit sense then (most projections have him in the late-first range now), I see bust written all over him and wouldn’t spend a premium pick on him.
At first glance, Moore is exactly what teams are looking for at the position, especially in a 4-3 scheme. He’s got the perfect frame, and he has those flashes of brilliance that make you think he can really be a dominant pass rusher. But a closer look at the tape reveals a terribly inconsistent player who doesn’t seem to go 100% on every snap and is the recipient of plenty of coverage sacks.
Moore has moments where he is so disruptive it’s scary, but other moments when he seems to be just standing around waiting for something to happen. He tends to want to get his hands up and bat down a pass too early instead of trying to gain ground against the tackle in the pass rush first. Against the run, it’s a similar story. One play, he’ll blow up the ball-carrier in the backfield, and the next he’ll get completely blown up himself.
Again, Moore has the tools to be an impact player. But the apparent lack of 100% effort and inconsistent play make me worried that he won’t be able to translate successfully to the next level, where every NFL opponent will require his best effort. If he’s still available in the 2nd Round, I don’t blame a team for taking a chance, but earlier than that, the risk is too much for me.
UNDER: Quanterus Smith, Western Kentucky
Smith carries some of the obvious caveats when it comes to pass rushers with solid production. He sports an extremely lean frame (6-5, 250) and did his damage in a lesser conference, but if you look closely at the tape, you’ll see a player who has all the physical tools and intangibles that can make for a dangerous threat to the QB.
Smith is a high-motor guy with an explosive first step who uses his hands effectively when disengaging and beating his opponent. His initial quickness off the snap allows him to make just as much of an impact against the run, consistently disrupting ball-carriers in the backfield. His read/react time is solid, and he spent plenty of time at both DE spots. He’s best suited with his hand in the dirt in the 4-3, but could possibly fit as a 3-4 edge rusher if he can develop his coverage skills a bit further.
Smith had double-digit tackles-for-loss in three of his four seasons with the Hilltoppers, including 18.5 last season (12.5 sacks). He’ll definitely need to add some bulk to be effective against NFL tackles, but the extra poundage should also improve his base and leverage against the run. For a player who is projected in the middle rounds at this point, Smith will have the chance to make an immediate impact as a situational player until he fills out and can become an every down presence.