From now until the 2023 NFL Draft, we will scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top-10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents. Today, I’ll be profiling North Carolina State linebacker Isaiah Moore.
#1 Isaiah Moore/LB NC State – 6020, 233
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand Size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Isaiah Moore||6020, 233||9 1/8″||31 3/4||76|
|40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
— Does a nice job of staying square as he attacks the line of scrimmage
— Great blitzer from depth, stays tight in his path and closes with violence to suffocate quarterbacks in the pocket
— Plays with violent intentions when coming downhill, capable and willing to throw his weight into the chest of pullers to keep his teammates clean
— Clearly vocal in his on-field communication, understands teammates’ assignments and can correct their alignments pre-snap at all three levels of the defense
—Has the strength and demeanor to overpower backs in pass protection when working from depth as a blitzer
— Works well ranging sideline to sideline despite lacking top-end athletic traits
— Works well to communicate and pass routes in zone coverage, plays routes top down and sinks for depth to occupy intermediate throwing windows
— Has a great feel for plugging gaps in the run game, triggers downhill well, occupies blockers to keep teammates clean at the point of attack
— Closes space well when working in a straight line
— Punishes pass catches at the catch point when allowed to close downhill
— Does a nice job to physically re-route receivers when working as a hook/curl player
— Lacks a plan and struggles to disengage when offensive linemen thwart his initial rush in pass protection
— Limited athleticism shows up when he is asked to change direction quickly
— Will occasionally throw a shoulder into offensive lineman and stop feet on contact when engaging blockers, making it easy for them to generate knockback on contact
— Occasionally allows re-routes to take him out of position in zone coverage, struggles to diagnose and identify mesh concepts
— Lack of arm length makes it tough for him to lock out and disengage from blockers working up to the second level
— Fails to come to balance at times when attacking downhill, can overrun and miss tackles due to his failure to come to balance
— Inconsistent in his pursuit angles, will occasionally misjudge the speed of the ball carrier and close too flat to the line
— Was taken off the field in sub-packages
— Career: 341 tackles (161 solo) 43.5 TFLs 11.5 sacks 1 FF 2 FRs 1 INT 11 PDs
— 2022: 82 tackles (40 solo) 15 TFLs 3 sacks 3 PDs
— Five-year starter and three-year captain at NC State (55 career starts)
—Three-time All-ACC Honorable Mention (2020-22)
— Only bench pressed at the Combine due to a left-groin injury, completed the rest of his testing at NC State’s Pro Day
— 2023 East-West Shrine Bowl Participant
— Led all Power Five LBs in tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage in 2020 with 27
— Earned NC State’s Phillip Rivers Freshman of the Year Award in 2018
— Redshirted in 2017, was suspended from the program amid sexual assault allegations. Ultimately no charges were filed, and he was reinstated to the program in June 2018.
— Earned his degree in communications in the summer of 2021, finishing his career as a graduate student
— Suffered a season-ending knee injury in 2021, causing him to miss spring ball ahead of the 2022 season
— Was born October 6, 1999. Will turn 24 early in his first NFL season.
— Worked as a part-time coach at nearby Cardinal Gibbons High-School while at NC State, has expressed intention to coach in his future
Despite the offseason signings of Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts, Pittsburgh’s depth at the off-ball linebacker position remains thin. Likewise, it is particularly important to not only evaluate names at the top of the draft, but also options on Day Three, when the team can add depth and special-teams ability to the back end of the roster.
Among a crop of talent at the East-West Shrine Bowl, a pair of North Carolina State linebackers, Drake Thomas and Isaiah Moore, played well throughout the practice week. Today, we’ll be taking a closer look at Moore. A rare five-year starter at the collegiate level, he amassed 341 tackles and 43.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage in 55 career starts for the Wolfpack.
A likely Day Three prospect with pedestrian testing numbers, it is no secret that Moore is at his best when allowed to attack downhill and play near the line of scrimmage. In the pass game, Moore offers the most value when asked to blitz from depth. He does a nice job of staying tight in his path and knifing through creases in the protection schemes.
When closing on quarterbacks in the pocket, Moore runs his feet on contact and punishes passers, causing errant, short-armed throws when unable to arrive in time for a sack. He finished his career with 11.5 sacks, and though he will almost certainly not be an every-down player, he could potentially offer some juice to a pass-rush package at the next level.
In run support, Moore consistently stays square when working downhill toward the line of scrimmage, allowing him to maneuver laterally and effectively occupy gaps. While he struggles to get off blocks when forced to engage at the second level, he does a nice job to slip and avoid blockers when attacking the line of scrimmage downhill, keeping himself clean to factor in on tackles.
The theme here is similar. When allowed to play aggressive and attack downhill, Moore can provide sound and impactful defense in the run game. When able to square up ball carriers, Moore snaps his hips and runs his feet on contact, hitting on the rise to deliver noticeable power on impact.
While he is certainly not at his best when forced to play in space, Moore’s motor constantly runs high. When able to identify a proper angle and track the ball carrier’s near hip in a straight line, he can effectively range sideline to sideline. Similar to his work in the box, when able to square up ball carriers and come to balance, Moore is an extremely effective tackler in the open field.
Issues arise when Moore is asked to change direction against quicker ball carriers. While a limited athlete when forced to close in a straight line, Moore’s bigger limitations come from his lack of proper start/stop mechanics. When he fails to come to balance as he approaches ball carriers, he often winds up planting outside of his frame. That leads to some ugly reps like the one we see here against Boston College’s Zay Flowers.
Moving along with our theme of the day, Moore is best in coverage when asked to operate in “hook/curl zone” assignments and attack downhill from depth. While he tends to struggle in almost any man coverage matchup, he does a nice job to communicate pass routes, play top down, and close on checkdowns when operating in zone coverage.
Although he rarely arrives in time to contest the catch point, Moore is often able to generate pass breakups through brute force, punishing pass catchers with violent hits at the catch point to jar the football loose. Put simply, Moore plays with a high-motor and a physical demeanor. Likewise, his approach in coverage is no different.
While mostly a sound player in coverage, with a solid foundational understanding of both the goals of coverage schemes and offensive passing concepts, Moore’s desire to provide physical re-routes can take him out of his assignment. This can prove to be particularly costly against mesh concepts, where opposing offenses can entice Moore with a shallow crosser, opening up room to work into his vacated zone.
Given his limited athleticism, which prevents him from being able to recover from even minute false steps, Moore needs to be near perfect with his eyes and technique to provide competence in that department. Likewise, as he was at times at North Carolina State, he will almost certainly see himself subbed off the field in passing down sub-packages.
Isaiah Moore could certainly prove to be a solid add in the middle-to-later half of Day Three. I believe that he can immediately provide solid depth as a backup inside linebacker with potential to serve as a productive, four-phase special teamer.
He likely never ascends to a full-time starter due to size limitations. But with his ability to provide sound run defense when working downhill along with his capability working from depth as a pass rusher, Moore should eventually be able to find a contributing role on defense at the next level. His tape reminds me quite a bit of Shaquille Quarterman, a former Miami Hurricane who similarly starred in college before settling into a productive backup and special teams-oriented role in Jacksonville.
While the lack of athleticism certainly can be exposed in the open field, a team could at the very least be comfortable that it can rely on Moore to play assignment sound football on a down to down basis, doing his 1/11th and not overcompensating for others. Moore is one of my top late-round options at the off-ball linebacker position.
Projection: Mid-to-Late Day Three
Depot Draft Grade: 6.7OFF -Backup/Special Teamer (5th Round)
Games Watched: vs Boston College (2022), at Clemson (2022), at Syracuse (2022), vs Texas Tech (2022)