It’s no secret that the Jaguars safety position is atrocious. While the silver lining is that the Jaguars found a viable candidate to be a future starter at strong safety with Courtney Greene, the fact is the position needs to be and will be addressed this offseason. It’s really not all that surprising, then, that the Jaguars were recently listed as one of five teams that were listed as teams that have shown the most interest in UCLA free safety Rahim Moore.
Moore decided to leave UCLA after his junior season, a move that I believe actually makes a lot of sense for the player that is likely to be drafted in the second round. By entering this year’s draft he became, in the eyes of most, the best safety in a very weak crop at the position.
Moore isn’t athletic or strong enough to warrant anywhere near the interest that headliners Eric Berry and Earl Thomas did in 2010. At 6’0, 202 pounds he’s the right size to be an elite safety, if not a little on the lighter side, but it is his 4.58 40 time that leaves some to be desired. A time that Moore was satisfied enough with to not attempt to improve it at his pro day Tuesday afternoon.
His 10 yard split, cone drill times and shuttle times all indicate that he still has a lot of running ability and smooth hips, but it makes you wonder how early is it worth taking a defensive back with 4.5-4.6 speed. Those also aren’t the only measurables that are less than desirable of a top 60 draft pick. His 35″ vertical and 11 bench press reps leave much to be desired.
But of course, the combine and pro day measurables are only a piece of a puzzle. The biggest piece is to look at game tape and that’s where Moore has earned himself the high stock he currently has. His 10 interceptions during his sophomore season led the nation and earned him a spot on the second team All-American team and solidified his reputation as a ball hawk.
His ability to be in the right place in the right time and have the ball skills to turn the ball over to his team’s offense can not be understated. On tape you can see his ability to diagnose a play and put himself in the right position to make something happen and force turnovers. As a pass defender, Moore translates well to the NFL as a player that can make plays and defend against some of the better receivers in the game.
As a run blocker, he could prove to be a liability. Often it appears as though he is not the one delivering hits to the ball carrier, but waiting to be the one to take the hit. He does a good job wrapping up and making the tackle, but it’s often after he’s been blasted backwards. His lack of aggressiveness can cause would-be five yard gains into 10 yard gains. Additionally, when a blocker gets their hands on him he doesn’t appear to have the strength to shake them off.
A player like Rahim Moore that can force a turnover at any point in time by being in the right place at the right time is hard to find and justifiably makes him the best safety of the draft class. While players like Taylor Mays can test off the charts in shorts, I’d much rather take the players that can make the big plays on the field. Moore’s athleticism and run defense make him a late second round or early third round talent in my mind, though. For the Jaguars, they must avoid overdrafting Moore simply because he’s the best safety in this draft and must take him where his value actually dictates.