2020 NFL Draft: Despite injury, Dylan Moses is still LB1

Dylan Moses has missed the entire 2019 college football season because of a torn ACL he suffered during a practice before the season.

Can you believe it? We are already 11 weeks into the college football season, and it has been another action-packed campaign that has seen Willie Taggart fired by Florida State and Joe Burrow become one of the best prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft while Minnesota has recorded eight successive victories.

With all that has happened, it can be easy to forget about some of the prospects who have underperformed or been sidelined to injury, including Alabama linebacker Dylan Moses.

Moses suffered a torn ACL during practice back in August before he could even step on the field during a game for the Crimson Tide and had reconstructive surgery, sidelining him for the rest of the year and leaving a big hole at the second level of Alabama’s defense.

If Alabama is unable to slow down LSU’s offense on Saturday, a significant reason will be the absence of Moses, who is becoming a forgotten man because of his injury.

Alabama will keenly feel the absence of Moses if the defense cannot stop Burrow and the LSU offense in Saturday’s blockbuster clash

Heading into the 2019 season, Moses was widely viewed as the best linebacker prospect in the class. Now, however, Isaiah Simmons appears to have leapfrogged him because of his physical promise and his impressive production.

Nonetheless, Moses is still the better prospect. The Simmons hype is understandable. He’s 6’4″ and can move like a gazelle, but the 6’3″ Moses’ athletic traits are arguably on a par with those of Simmons.

Ever since he was a young boy Moses has been busting his you know what to become the best football player he could be. Through waking up at 4:30 am and getting in a work-out that consisted of 400 pushups, 800 situps, 10 minutes of jump rope, and a one-mile run, Moses was able to run a 4.46 40-yard dash as a 6’1″, 215-pound, 14-year-old middle school running back.

After shocking coaches and scouts with his 40-time, word quickly got out about the young phenom from Baton Rouge, La. When LSU heard about it, they came calling and promptly made him (at that time) the youngest recruit in LSU history.

LSU ultimately lost out on the Moses sweepstakes after he de-committed in 2015, but being recruited by the Tigers and other top schools at such a young age speaks to just how talented Moses is.

What Moses can do on the field is just as impressive as his resume off it. One of his best traits is his ability to eat up space on plays to the outside while maintaining his gap responsibility. Often linebackers will become impatient and try to make a play too early. This generally results in broken tackle because of a poor pursuit angle or the running back taking to the sideline.

On this play, Moses is lined up on the B-gap, and LSU runs a wide zone. The offensive lineman immediately starts widening out to the right, and Moses does an excellent job of diagnosing the play quickly. He maintains phenomenal technique as he scrapes along the line of scrimmage and follows the running back to the hole where he can make the play.

This single play showcases Moses’ ability to quickly read his run keys and diagnose plays to find the ball-carrier, as well as his excellent closing speed. It also speaks to how technically sound he is as a football player; he keeps his hips low, shoulders square, and he doesn’t cross his feet.

Moses isn’t only dangerous against the run. Because of his elite athleticism, he can drop into coverage against running backs and tight ends. He has quick hips and feet that allow him to stay attached to running backs out of the backfield or tight ends running the seam. Most importantly, though, he has the speed to recover against play-action, which is a staple of the modern NFL offense.

If you want to get spicy, let him cover a slot receiver. If you want to get New Orleans spicy, then drop the man down on the line-of-scrimmage and let him rush the passer.

Did you see that get off? On the above play from Bama’s 2017 clash with Texas A&M, Moses was a freshman and had little experience rushing the passer from the line-of-scrimmage. Moses proved right off the bat for the Crimson Tide that if you put him on the field and give him a job, he will go execute.

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It remains to be seen if Moses will be back healthy for the NFL Scouting Combine, but that should not influence opinions of him. Would it be nice if he went out and ran a 4.4 40 as he did in middle school? Sure. But he shouldn’t have to because the tape speaks for itself.

He may be injured and an inch shorter than Simmons, but Moses is still LB1.