Zack Moss Is A Hidden Gem (2020 NFL Draft)
Zack Moss, Utah
Weight: 223 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.65 seconds
Vertical Jump: 33.0 inches
Broad Jump: N/A
3-Cone Drill: N/A
It’s often difficult for running backs to improve their stock very much while at the NFL Combine, but there are certainly a few who lose stock. After running a 4.65-second 40-yard dash, many likely moved Moss down their boards, as his speed score was in the 44th percentile. To the teams who don’t really count on the 40 to determine whether they like a player, Moss could go higher than many expect, though his injury history adds to the question marks.
One of the biggest downsides to Moss is the load he carried while at Utah, as he accumulated 778 touches over four years. That’s a lot of tread on his tires. He did average 5.7 yards per carry and score 41 touchdowns over that span, so it didn’t limit his efficiency. He tallied 80-plus rushing yards in 11-of-13 games in 2019 and scored at least one touchdown in all but two games. Production should be the last thing NFL teams are worried about with him.
Here’s my detailed scouting report on Zack Moss (ratings out of five stars):
Moss has excellent awareness that’ll have him vary his speeds when the ball hits his hands. Some running backs cradle up when they see a defender coming off the edge untouched, but not Moss. He scoots up and aggressively makes his way up the field, for good or bad, which is part of his playstyle that got him injured. If he’s not under duress, he displays patience behind the line of scrimmage. The issues I saw in his vision were times he tried to do too much while not understanding his speed limitations. He’ll certainly get what’s blocked but when he tries to bounce a run outside because the lanes were closed, it could result in lost yardage. He does a good job of understanding where he is on the field and what he needs to do to get to the yellow line.
RATING: ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2
Elusiveness (twitch, juke, tackle-breaking)
He has excellent footwork, uses his incredible balance to help him side-step defenders like he’s a 200-pound running back. The issue for defenders is that if you don’t square him up, you’re not going to tackle him. Watched him utilize a spin-move in the open-field, highlighting just how much control he has over his body at 223 pounds. You just don’t see running backs his size with this much elusiveness very often. He can also lower his shoulder and wear down a defense.
RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2
He’s a very fluid runner, doesn’t look clunky while carrying the ball. He obviously lacks a top gear that many use to break long runs, but that won’t be where he shines. He does get up to speed rather quickly, which is good for the tackle-breaker that he is, but he’s more of a two-speed running back while top-tier ones have four gears of speed at their disposal. What he lacks in speed, he makes up for in size, as he’s built to withstand a massive workload. He’s built proportionally and precisely how you’d want a three-down running back to be.
There’s nothing special to his work in the passing-game, as he wasn’t really featured in Utah’s passing game. Not that he can’t contribute, because he did catch 26 passes over his final eight games in 2019, it’s just not a strength of his game. There aren’t any issues with his pass-protection that I saw, as he used his leverage very well, and his 223-pound frame isn’t moved very easily. He’s also a very willing blocker, seemingly welcoming the challenge. Again, this is part of his aggressive nature. I’d say he’s slightly below average as a pass-catcher, though not debilitating, but above average as a pass protector.
RATING: ⭐⭐ 1/2
I believe Moss can fit with most teams in the NFL, though ideally, he’d be in a zone scheme that can put his patience on display. But again, with his elusiveness, I believe he could work in a man scheme, especially if he starts to learn his limitations. He can play all three downs and doesn’t need to come off the field due to his pass protection skills.
RATING: ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2
Projected Draft Spot
The weak Combine performance may knock him into the fourth-round, especially when you consider the lack of jobs available to running backs in the NFL right now. However, he’s a complete player that RB-needy teams should absolutely take a long look at. Maybe a team with a running back who isn’t the clear-cut answer, because you still want a solution/backup plan to Moss’ aggressive playstyle. Teams that stand out to me include the Chiefs, Bears, Bucs, Chargers, and Dolphins.
If you sit down and watch Moss, I promise you’ll walk away seeing a Kareem Hunt-type player. If you recall, Hunt ran a 4.62-second 40-yard dash and went at the end of the third-round, which are both territories where Moss is at/expected to be. Hunt has a reckless playstyle that allows him to continually break tackles and get into the open field. When he came into the league, many didn’t think he offered much in the passing game, though that turned out to be a bit overblown. All of these things can be said about Moss if he falls into a situation where he gets the opportunity. Who knows, it might be for the Chiefs as well.
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