In 2013 with the Buffalo Bills, new Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Arthur Moats started 12 games. However, despite all of those starts, he still managed to only play 301 defensive snaps. So why so few snaps? When looking at his tape from last season, it’s clear that he was just used primarily on run downs and thus a liability in coverage.
According to Pro Football Focus, Moats was targeted 11 times in 2013 and he allowed 10 catches for 112 yards. In the Week 2 game against the Carolina Panthers, he gave up two catches for 46 yards to tight end Greg Olsen and I have included animated gifs of both of those plays below.
As previously noted, Moats is a reliable tackler inside against the run, but much like current Steelers inside linebacker Vince Williams, he likely won’t be able to stay on the field in sub packages, if ever asked to play the buck spot.
It will be interesting to see how the Steelers plan on using Moats, who played defensive end in college for James Madison. Following the Bills drafting Moats in the sixth-round of the 2010 NFL Draft, scout Tom Roth talked about how he was used in college.
“He predominantly played D-end I’d say 90 to 95 percent of the time,” said Roth. “Occasionally I’d see him back out at linebacker. He did drop some.”
In his four years at James Madison, Moats recorded 29 total sacks with 22.5 of them coming in his final two seasons. Prior to him being drafted, many draftniks projected that he would be an outside linebacker at the NFL level, but the Bills obviously saw him more as an inside guy in their system, according to Roth.
Make no mistake, Moats will likely be an asset to the Steelers on special teams in 2014, but where he fits on defense as a backup is yet to be determined. I won’t be surprised if they try to move him back outside initially, to see if he can offer anything as a pass rusher. If they play him inside, however, they’ll be limited to using on run downs only.