For some players, the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine was an opportunity to showcase their talents and boost their draft stock.
For others it was a trip best forgotten. Those players are now in scramble mode, trying desperately to rehab that stock after a poor performance in Indianapolis.
Unfortunately for Damontre Moore of Texas A&M, it appears that he belongs to the latter group.
Moore entered the combine as one of the most coveted defensive players in this year's class. His ability to be productive as both a 4-3 defensive end and 3-4 outside linebacker had him labeled as a potential top-five pick.
He leaves Indianapolis as a player that many are now projecting outside the top 15, and one scout even labeled him a "mess off the field."
So what happened?
Well, apparently the interview process didn't go as well as Moore would have hoped. That was what led one scout to characterize Moore as that "mess," according to Marla Ridenour of The Akron Beacon-Journal.
It's believed the scout was referring to Moore's 2011 arrest for marijuana possession. To hear Moore's statements to Ridenour about the incident, it sounds like he either learned his lesson or at least was well-coached about what to say regarding it.
“You tend to think you’re grown because you’re moving out of the house,” Moore said Sunday. “You’ve got to bump your head a little bit before you get the hang of it. Unfortunately I bumped my head, but it motivated me and helped me realize the potential I had and the blessing and the good situation I was in. It helped show me it could all be taken in the blink of an eye. I would like to think I’ve matured a lot.”
What Moore said behind the closed doors of interview rooms may have been a different story.
Things didn't get any better once the workouts started.
Moore's 12 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press ranked dead last among all defensive linemen, and his 4.95 second 40-yard dash time was considerably slower than expected.
According to Larry Hartstein of CBS Sports, Moore claims his hamstring tightened up on his 40-yard dash, which prevented him from running a second time and participating in the agility drills.
Hartstein reports that Moore was clearly disappointed by his showing in Indy, but Moore also chalked it up to the same sort of adversity that players face every week on the gridiron.
“I had a rocky start with the bench press,” the 6-foot-4, 250-pounder from Texas A&M said on NFL Network. “I was really disappointed. I was nowhere near what I did when I was training, so I was disappointed at that.
“But it's just like football,” he continued. “Something always happens, there's some adversity, you've got to learn from it, forget about it and move on.”
However, the sky isn't exactly falling where Damontre Moore is concerned.
Yes, Moore's bench press total is alarmingly low, and it could be indicative of a lack of upper-body strength.
It could also indicate a case of the yips brought on by the pressure of the combine.
It's important for scouts to not get too carried away by one bad workout. A negative performance doesn't erase years of game tape, which is generally a much more accurate indicator of a player's abilities.
That game tape shows a player who had to transition from linebacker to defensive end during the offseason between his sophomore year and junior year but still managed to rack up consecutive seasons of over 70 tackles and more than eight sacks in both years.
Moore didn't suddenly stop being the player that NFL.com called "one of the top two or three pass rushers" of the 2013 draft in their scouting report (a report in which they compared him to Aldon Smith of the San Francisco 49ers) because of one shaky workout, even if that workout was the most high-profile of them all.
Does Moore have some work to do at Texas A&M's Pro Day on March 8th? Absolutely. Especially where his upper-body strength is concerned as that relates to his ability to play 4-3 defensive end in the NFL.
With that said, if Moore's poor showing in Indy does cause him to drop all the way to the 17th overall pick, as both Rob Rang and Dane Brugler of CBS Sports predicted in their latest mock drafts, then all that will mean is that Moore will be a little lighter in the wallet and the Pittsburgh Steelers will have gotten another great value pick.
All because several NFL teams got a case of the yips on their own.
All combine results courtesy of NFL.com.
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