From now until the 2021 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.
#7 Trevon Moehrig / S TCU – 6’2” 202
- Good size, length, and athleticism. Has speed and quickness. Elite at recovering and being able to click and close (this will stand out even more if he improves his discipline)
- Ball hawk. Plays instinctively and aggressively. Great range in zone coverage. Able to play the ball at the catch point and plays through the hands in contested catch situations
- Effective in both man to man and zone coverage (played corner in high school). Would be at his best playing predominantly zone with some man in the NFL
- Quick feet, fluid hips
- Appears to communicate well. His intelligence shows up on tape
- Ends up out of position at times due to how aggressively he plays. Gets caught staring in the backfield. Likes to jump routes, this leaves him exposed to easy completions and big plays. Teams attacked him with double moves
- Solid tackler but can further improve his angles and fundamentals. Often tries to go for a hit with his shoulder or dives low
- Struggles with getting off blocks at times
- 2020 Stats (10 games): 30 solo tackles, 47 total, 2 for loss. 2 interceptions, 9 passes defensed
- Career Stats (33 games): 85 solo tackles, 124 total, 4.5 for loss. 7 interceptions, 21 passes defensed, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery
- 2020 Jim Thorpe Award
- 2020 Chuck Bednarik Award Semifinalist
- 2020 First Team All-Big 12
- 2019 First Team All-Big 12
- 2020 First Team All-American, ESPN
- Voted TCU’s Special Teams Most Valuable Player in 2018 as a Freshman
Trevon Moehrig is a top tier safety prospect. He is athletic with solid size and length. He plays with fluid hips, quick feet, game speed and ball skills. Pairing all of these physical and athletic traits with the added value of versatility by being able to effectively cover in man to man (receivers, running backs, tight ends) and zone help give Moehrig elite coverage prospects, which is the reason he is going to be one of the top safeties selected in the 2021 NFL Draft. Moehrig has a lot of potential when it comes to how good he can be as an NFL safety. However, in order to maximize this potential, he will need to improve in certain areas of the game. Most notably being his eye discipline/mental processing (he is an intelligent player, but he can play too aggressively at times) and the consistency of his tackling (he shows flashes). This is definitely manageable for a guy with such natural talent, especially with NFL coaching. If he maximizes his ability in all facets of his game, he will definitely provide a huge return on investment for the NFL franchise that decides to draft him in 2021.
This clip from TCU’s game against Oklahoma State in 2020 showcases why Moehrig will be a much-desired prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft: playmaking ability. He is smart and rangy when in zone, while also having the ball skills necessary to snag interceptions on tipped passes and in contested catch situations. He is able to go up and high point the ball in order to either deflect the pass or try to come away with an interception, depending on the situation.
Many fans often attribute certain interceptions to luck, but there is usually far more to it than this simplistic generalization. Because this is a Steelers page, I’m going to use Minkah Fitzpatrick as an example. When watching the Steelers, some of Minkah’s interceptions can appear “lucky,” but this is not the case. Minkah consistently positions himself to be in the right place at the right time through reading his keys and successfully executing his assignment. While it obviously takes some luck for a ball to be tipped into a defensive player’s vicinity, they have to position themselves by quickly diagnosing plays, which will allow them to be in the right place to make a play on the football when the opportunity presents itself. There is so much more to being a defensive playmaker than just sheer luck.
In this clip specifically, Trevon Moehrig gives a quick glance to the receiver split out wide to the right as if planning to give his teammate inside help, before noticing the tight end that leaked out of the formation and shot up the middle. Ar’Darius Washington, the other TCU safety (and another prospect), gets a good break on the route and is able to make it a contested catch that the tight end is not able to reel in. Moehrig properly positions himself after darting over, which is ultimately what allows him to snag the clutch interception with one hand in the back of the end zone. This is just one of Moehrig’s seven career interceptions at TCU, with others being even more impressive.
Another clip from the 2020 game vs. Oklahoma State exhibits Trevon Moehrig making a phenomenal play on a deep ball to the end zone. His coverage was not fully shown in the broadcast view, but what I want to discuss here is how he he is able to leap/dive into the air in order to get his fingertips on the ball just enough to vary its course and knock it away from the receiver. As you can see, Moehrig is glued to the hip of the receiver and then displays his athleticism as he times his jump perfectly in order to deny the over-the-shoulder catch.
In this clip from TCU’s 2020 game vs. Oklahoma, Moehrig is covering the slot receiver on the right side of the field. Moehrig keeps his eyes on him the whole way through and displays patience until he diagnoses where the receiver is trying to go. The receiver begins to stem his route inside in order to try and get Moehrig moving that direction for when he cuts back outside on a path towards the corner of the end zone. Moehrig sees right through this however, and as the receiver cuts back outside Moehrig flips his hips and ends up running the route for him, blanketing him.
This clip is a little later in the 2020 game against Oklahoma. Moehrig is guarding the middle receiver lined up in the trips set to the right of the field. As the receiver begins to stem his route outside, Moehrig gets low and shuffles toward him without fully opening his hips, thus avoiding giving the receiver the ability to cross his face back inside while still being able to anticipate an out-breaking route. As he and the receiver end up back inside at the sticks, you can see that Moehrig is draped all over him. Moehrig then jumps further in front of the receiver as the pass is thrown and shields him away from any chance to catch the pass, sealing him off completely. Moehrig finishes the play by swatting the pass into the ground for an incompletion on third down.
This clip is from TCU’s game against WVU in 2020. Moehrig has his eyes on the quarterback while also noticing the receiver who motioned is heading towards the sideline. As the quarterback throws the swing pass to that receiver, Moehrig breaks forward and is able to quickly reach him. Moehrig doesn’t fall for any of the receiver’s jukes and does a great job of latching onto his thigh and wrangling him to the ground behind the line of scrimmage.
This is another clip from TCU’s game against WVU. At the beginning of the play, you can see Moehrig communicating with his teammate, which is something I saw him constantly doing in the games I watched. After talking to his teammate, he begins to read the quarterback’s eyes and sees that he is trying to set up a screen to the H-back. As the quarterback releases the ball, Moehrig darts forward and cuts past the receiver trying to block him in order to tackle the H-back at the line of scrimmage. He does tackle low here without being able to wrap up, but he is able to make an excellent play regardless.
In this clip from TCU’s game against Texas in 2020, Moehrig displays his quick feet. He is on the far side of the field and is watching for any vertical routes in order to give zone assistance over the top. Before the ball is snapped, you can see him talking to his teammates and serving as the leader of the back end (another example of his communication skills). Post-snap, his silky-smooth footwork allows him to pedal backwards effortlessly. This is something than can be seen when he is in both man and zone coverage.
This clip from the Oklahoma game in 2020 is an example of why I believe Moehrig can improve as a tackler. On this play he puts his head down and takes his eyes off his target, then proceeds to try and lay a hit with his right shoulder. The receiver is able to spin out of his attempted tackle, and Moehrig gets lucky because his teammates are there to clean up the play.
When watching his games, I saw times where Moehrig would take a poor angle, try to hit with his shoulder, or dive at a player’s legs instead of attacking the player and wrapping up in a fundamentally sound fashion. On the other hand, there were also times where he would execute tackles with perfect form, and in those instances, you could see his potential. Still, tackling is definitely something that he needs to improve when it comes to consistency, but I am sure he will be able to work on this with NFL coaching.
This clip from TCU’s game against Texas in 2019 depicts the way in which Moehrig’s aggressiveness can get him into trouble at times. Pre-snap, Moehrig moves to outside leverage while playing ten yards off of the receiver. As the ball is snapped, Moehrig gets low and waits for the receiver to come to him. Due to how the receiver begins to angle his route outside, Moehrig slides even further towards the sideline, allowing the receiver to drive back inside, swim move to avoid his hands, and speed right past him. The receiver then has a free path up the seam for the touchdown. If you’re taking something positive away from this clip it’s that Moehrig has some long speed. After he is beaten, he is able to quickly open up and at least somewhat stick with the receiver (current Baltimore Ravens’ speedster Devin Duvernay).
Like most football fans, I love “ball hawk” defenders. These are the playmakers on your defense that steal the ball for your offense. The turnover battle is a huge deciding factor in football games and having players like Trevon Moehrig that can create those turnovers is massive for any defense, which is why he is going to be a much sought-after prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft. However, you don’t want to put yourself in a hole by trying to play for turnovers and exposing yourself to big plays. There needs to be a happy medium. The best “ball hawks” seem to make the right play at the right time. If Trevon Moehrig is to maximize his potential and rightly earn the title of “ball hawk” at the next level, then he will need to work on playing more disciplined at times. He will also have to work on his tackling, but as a four-star recruit out of high school who started off his career at TCU by impressing on special teams, Trevon Moehrig knows a thing or two about working hard to get where he wants to be.
I think Moehrig could shine as a free safety in a system that allows him to play fast and instinctively (the Pittsburgh Steelers put Minkah Fitzpatrick in position to immediately play like this when they acquired him from the Miami Dolphins via trade in 2019). By taking out some of the mental processing associated with being asked to fill a variety of roles early in his career, Moehrig would be able to showcase his playmaking skills in both man to man and zone coverage (best suited for predominantly zone early on). As he settles in and becomes accustomed to the NFL level, this is when I think the team that drafts him would be able to throw more at him in terms of responsibilities. At day one however, his team should put him into position to excel at his strengths, while working to further develop him in the areas of his game that need some improvement. As should be the plan with all prospects.
Projection: Late First Round – Early Second Round
Games Watched: Texas (2019), Texas (2020), Oklahoma State (2020), Oklahoma (2020), WVU (2020)