A ballhawk with a good nose for the ball both vs. the run and pass. Plays well in centerfield, doing a good job keeping things in front of him. Has good speed and range. Has the burst and ball skills to break up passes in front of him. Can match up with receivers over the middle in man coverage with decent hips and speed. Usually takes good angles to the ball when working in run support. Is a sound tackler, that breaks down and wraps up at the point of attack. Makes most stops in space and has good closing burst on the ball. Willing to come up and fill vs. the run in the box. Will deliver a hit to a receiver over the middle.
An undersized tackler and it shows when he tries to take on bigger backs. Will take a bad angle on occasion on the edge when trying to beat back to the corner and give up a big run. Has trouble getting off blocks downfield and can get caught out of position as the last line of defense. His lack of size limits how well he can match up with most tight ends. On occasion will let the receiver get behind him.
He is a smart player that rarely makes mistakes and should be a solid fit to be the quarterback of a secondary. Moore's stock jumped really high his sophomore year where he led the nation with 10 picks. But it dipped this past year when he only recorded 1. But he did see an increase in his production vs. the run, going from 49 tackles to 71 as a junior. He was a productive three-year starter at free safety that combined for 180 tackles, 6 for loss, 14 interceptions, and 15 pass breakups.
If Moore is not making a ton of turnovers, he's really nothing special as a free safety prospect. Mainly because while he is a sound tackler, he's not super big and that's not his forte. He probably needs to bulk up a bit more and get in the 205-210 pound range to be most effective at the next level. But he has the tools, smarts, speed, and ball skills to be an impact player in coverage. I don't think he's the next Ed Reed, but I think he has the potential to at least be the next Nick Collins or O.J. Atogwe. He's the type of player that can consistently give a team 4-6 interceptions a year because of his ball skills. The thing you like most about Moore is the fact that he's capable covering slot receivers. He's not a guy that is going to shut down anybody, but he's not a guy that is going to get abused readily by that guy. And as he gains experience, he's only going to get better in coverage because he'll do a better job with anticipation and taking angles. He has the makings of being one of the better free safeties in the league. The real question is whether he's going to put in the work to be one of the premier ballhawks like an Ed Reed that is feared by opposing offenses. Moore should be able to come in right away and start, although like most rookie safeties, he'll probably have some growing pains.
Moore is an upgrade over DeCoud because he's much more rangy, instinctive, and natural in coverage. Like DeCoud, he's not the biggest safety, and while I don't think he's as physical as DeCoud is as a hitter, I do think he's potentially as good an option in run support. He is the opposite of DeCoud, who is a more natural run defender, with Moore being much more natural in coverage. Because of his ability to match up with slot receivers and play centerfield, he's a better partner in the secondary to William Moore because they complement each other much more effectively. In a fair competition, Rahim wouldn't unseat DeCoud as a rookie, but probably by his second year would certainly give him a run for his money, and allow the Falcons to let DeCoud walk after 2011 with a better option.
Moore is definitely a first round pick. He's probably not the elite ballhawk that merits a Top 20 pick, but because he is probably well on his way to being a Top 10 safety down the road, he should get looks in the latter part of that round.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Ball Skills: 4.0
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.