Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Emergence Of Dezman Moses

The Green Bay Packers find promising undrafted talent every year, and they've done a good job of finding free talent at outside linebacker (Erik Walden, Frank Zombo, Vic So'oto). Unfortunately, after promising starts from them, they've each fallen back on the depth chart.

This year's surprising undrafted talent is former Tulane DE Dezman Moses. Just like the previous three players, Moses is a former college DE making the switch to outside linebacker. But plays like the one below hint that he may have more athleticism than any of them.
He had 9.5 sacks in 2011, and 15.5 over the last two seasons at Tulane. That school was a mess last season as they fired their head coach in October. As an undersized (for the NFL) defensive end who played for a bad team, I'm not surprised he went undrafted. He probably drew little attention from scouts.

With the Packers, he's been noticed since the summer OTA practices began. While he's not been a real threat to challenge LB Nick Perry for the starting job, he has played a lot with the first team defense. But I hadn't really seen anything exceptional from him during the preseason; until the game against the Bengals.

His stats during don't jump out (4 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, 1 pass defense, and 1 QB hit), but each of those single stats were an exceptional play on it's own, and he looked like the second team defender that the Bengals had to pay attention to. His pass defense was almost a gem, when he ran at the quarterback on a naked bootleg, tipped the pass up in the air, and almost had an interception off the jump ball. He really stood out and looked like the player I had been reading about all summer.

But can he keep it up? That is the question, and I don't have an answer to it either. It depends on his health, his opportunities, and his continued development.


PackFaninFl said...

Great read.

Any concern that Nick Perry hasn't distinguished himself? I mean, he has great power and has show he can pressure the QB. But I'm surprised he hasn't separated himself that much from Moses and Walden. Or am I reading that wrong?

Brandon said...

I wasn't trying to compare him to Perry, who's seemed to have been locked in as starter since the first OTA, and I've been sold on Perry since he had a sack on the first play of the preseason.

Right now, I think Moses is a more of a complete linebacker, and he plays better in space. Which makes sense because Moses played some linebacker in college, but Perry never did. Perry is the better pass rusher, though Moses is no slouch.

I like Walden as a backup. He does everything they want from an outside linebacker (tackle, rush the passer, drop into coverage) but he's not great at any of them and he's not quite good enough to start.

I think Perry will distinguish himself as the best pass rusher of the three over the course of the 16 game season, it's been a small sample size during the preseason, but we might have to watch some growing pains as Perry tries to drop back into coverage or play run defense.