The DC Times

A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football

By Jonathan Bales

Cowboys’ Potential Draft Picks: DEs Damontre Moore and Margus Hunt

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Texas A&M’s Damontre Moore and SMU’s Margus Hunt are two very interesting, and very different, defensive ends. Both could interest the Cowboys in April. I took a look at Moore’s lackluster Combine at Dallas News.

Texas A&M defensive end Damontre Moore was productive throughout his college career. The First-Team All-American totaled a team-high 80 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, and 12.5 sacks in 2012.

Moore has received plenty of media attention this week for his poor Combine performance. At 6-5, 250 pounds, Moore clocked in at just 4.95 in the 40-yard dash and put up only 12 reps on the bench press—the worst number of all 37 defensive linemen. You’ll hear a lot of analysts tell you that measurables are meaningless, but that’s not always true. Sometimes, they matter quite a bit. Luckily for Moore, his poor 40 time and lackluster bench press shouldn’t do much to affect his future effectiveness in the NFL.

I charted the height, speed, and approximate NFL value for every defensive lineman drafted in the first three rounds from 2000 to 2010. I found that the 40-yard dash doesn’t matter nearly as much as height for defensive ends.

You can see that the fastest, tallest defensive ends have typically been the most successful. That’s obviously not surprising, but it’s pretty shocking to see that the defensive ends who ranked in the bottom third in 40-yard dash time produced at nearly the same level as the fastest defensive ends. Meanwhile, the tallest defensive ends produced at nearly twice the rate as those ranked in the bottom third in height (6-3 or shorter).

So why would height help defensive ends? The logical answer is that height is obviously strongly correlated with arm length; pass-rushers need long arms to fend off blocks from offensive tackles, and the tallest players frequently turn into the best pass-rushers. You’ll always have your exceptions (Dwight Freeney and Elvis Dumervil, for example), but most elite pass-rushers are tall and long.

At 6-5, Moore has adequate height to succeed in the NFL. More important, his arms are incredibly long at 34 ¾ inches. Combined with his production in the always-competitive SEC and the fact that Moore’s hamstring tightened up prior to his 40-yard dash, you have the makings of a player who could drop when he shouldn’t.

See the full scouting report here.

And at NBC, I took a look at Hunt.

At 6-8, 277 pounds, hunt absolutely blew up the 2013 Scouting Combine. The defensive end ran a 4.62 40-yard dash, posted a 34.5-inch vertical, and knocked out 38 reps on the bench press. That has led some to argue that Hunt is a workout warrior whose athleticism doesn’t translate to the football field, but Hunt was relatively productive in college. He recorded 11.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks in 2012—both career-highs. In his first year at SMU, Hunt blocked an amazing seven kicks.

When you watch Hunt on tape, you see what you’d expect: a very strong, extremely quick defensive end who looks a bit awkward at times. Hunt can turn in an All-Pro type of play one minute, then get completely fooled on the next. When Hunt isn’t sure what he sees, he gets hesitant when he should be going all-out, even if he’s doing the wrong thing.

The whole scouting report is at NBC.

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2 Responses to Cowboys’ Potential Draft Picks: DEs Damontre Moore and Margus Hunt

  1. trent says:

    When I see the exceedingly rare height/speed combo of Margus Hunt, I automatically think of Julius Peppers.
    Obviously, that’s a lofty comparison, but I can’t think of anyone since Peppers that has been that tall, fast, and strong (Hunt is taller, faster, and stronger, actually).
    I could definitely see a team picking him much earlier than expected; like Bruce Irvin to Seattle last year.

  2. Derek says:

    I’m glad that you have Hunt as a first rounder. Most see his supposed lack of production as reason for him to be a second or third rounder. But, if he’s actually compared to other players, his production stands up.

    If the Cowboys pass on re-signing Spencer, how likely do you see Hunt as the pick at 18? I think Hunt will keep rising on boards, and there’s little chance he will fall to the second round. Also, would you pick Hunt at 18 if the pick were up to you? According to the DE metrics you uncovered, Hunt looks like a good bet to be very valuable.

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