John F. Silver
He came to the NFL Combine to showcase his athletic ability. There were few linebackers that could match him.
Moore showcased speed running the 40-yard dash in 4.65 — good for 5th overall among linebackers — and flashed strength with 29 reps at 225 pounds, good for second among all linebackers. How about a little explosiveness? Moore had a broad jump of 10-8 and a standing vertical of 38 inches. Those are all top five performances for a linebacker.
His teammate Trevardo Williams, a defensive end who is still nursing an ankle sprain, also wowed with his athleticism.
The all-time sack leader at UConn and former New England Champion in the 100-meter dash ran the 40-yard dash in a time of 4.57, a hundreth of a second faster than LSU All-American Bark Mingo. Williams was also No. 1 at his position with a 38-inch vertical leap. He placed third in the broad jump with a distance of 10-4. To boot, as a defensive linemen, Williams also benched 225 pounds a total of 30 times which was the fifth best among the defensive linemen.
Also on the day corner Dwayne Gratz, who will do many of the drills on Tuesday, led all cornerbacks in the bench press with 22 lifts at 225-pounds.
The Huskies have a state of the art training facility in Storrs, a facility that has wowed NFL scouts when they visit, and it seems to have paid off. UConn players have had strong combines in the past.
So what does it all mean?
For Moore, the speculation is that he has improved his stick from a 5th and 6th round selection all the way up to may the 2nd or 3rd round. What Moore has several things going for him:
He was incredibly productive at UConn with 274 career tackles, 44 TFLs, 16 sacks with three interceptions and four forced fumbles as a three year starter. He follow that up with energy and effort and impresses with his play an instincts at two postseason All-Star games. Moore has scouts interested and now he showcases elite athleticism and strength that I am sure raised some eyebrows.
Good motor, productive and great athlete. Now you have scouts interested. Moore is on the small side at 6 -1 and at 245-pounds isn’t big enough for the middle, where his instincts would serve him well. Moore to has to prove he can play outside, and athletically he has done that. The film and his technique will show where he will go now. His athleticism, speed and motor are all high-level NFL caliber, and that should translate to a career on the outside.
Williams is a different case in my opinion. He’s a great athlete and was always going to do well at a combine. Williams’ key will be if scouts think he can be a 3-4 OLB. Williams is 6-1, 241-pounds, that’s just too light to play the run as an NFL defensive end. In either case, he is going to have to show he can play as a linebacker. Williams is fast, powerful and explosive, and some team is going to take a shot at him and that ability to sack the quarterback. Williams is going to have to play linebacker if he wants to play full-time, and his draft stock will come down to footwork and whether they think he can translate. That said, if a guy can get to the quarterback, it’s a talent that coaches will find a way to play.
It’s a long way to April, but Moore and Williams did nothing to harm their stock in Indianapolis.