After reading all of the comments from the latest 7-round mock draft I posted a lot of people felt that if the Steelers were to miss out on Mike Pouncey, Jimmy Smith, Brandon Harris, and several other of the potential targets than the team would be better served taking UCLA Free Safety Rahim Moore over a supposed reach like Ben Ijalana. Well that got me thinking so I decided to take a break from profiling potential second round picks to give a little more focus on Moore and his fit as the Steelers first round pick.
Rahim Moore Player Profile:
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Pros: Rahim Moore's best attributes are his instincts and his hands which make him a dangerous ball hawk. He's excellent at breaking on the ball , especially on deep routes, and has receiver hands to pick it off. His specialty is zone coverage which makes him a good fit for the Steelers defense. He was a 3 year starter at UCLA, never missing a single game since the day he stepped on campus, and ended his collegiate career with 14 interceptions. Moore also has good straight-line speed and very fluid hips.
Cons: While Moore may have had 14 careers interceptions 10 of those came during his sophomore campaign, with only one coming in his junior, and final, year. Many feel as though Moore is a bit of a one-year wonder. Most of the discrepancy comes from UCLA playing him closer to the line of scrimmage during his junior year and the rest comes from QB's avoiding throwing into his area of the field. It's also worth noting that Moore was working under the tutelage of Carnell Lake during his 10 pick year in 2009. Lake left after that lone season in Westwood.
Moore is also not an explosive tackler. While he employs a good overall wrap-up technique, because of his lack of strength he'll never be known as a vicious hitter which is something that is somewhat expected from Steelers Nation. He also has trouble shedding blocks in the run game. And for all his skills in zone coverage his ability to play man-to-man is a little lacking. When assigned to cover the slot he'll often times get burned while trying to read the QB's eyes.
Draft Stock: Currently Rahim Moore is the consensus top prospect at the Safety position. Most sites give him at late 1st-mid 2nd grade. Mock drafts around the web have Moore going to the Denver Broncos at pick 36, but he most certainly will not make it past the Houston Texans at 42 especially after they cut Eugene Wilson. At the earliest I could see the Baltimore Ravens selecting him at 26 given their needs in the secondary and needing an heir to Ed Reed who will probably retire in another year.
NFL Player Comparison: Seattle Seahawks FS Earl Thomas
Like Thomas, Rahim Moore is a true ball hawk in zone coverage but lacks the size to be truly effective in run support.
Final Word: I'm a big fan of Rahim Moore. I think he would be a great addition to the Steelers defense. With Troy Polamalu usually roaming in the box it would be nice to have someone with Moore's talents playing deep centerfield. Because he's more of a finesse player, i.e. not the physical, big-hitter type that the Steelers typically have on defense, I have a hard time seeing the Steelers taking him. However it's definitely time for the Steelers to get some talent in the secondary that can actually intercept a pass besides Troy. If the team feels the same way I would have absolutely no problems with the Steelers selecting him with the 31st pick if Mike Pouncey, Phil Taylor, or any of the top CB's were already gone. Although given the amount of zone coverage the Steelers employ in their defensive scheme theoretically they could have Moore play CB, especially if they brought him along slowly in Nickel packages to start with.