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90-Man Roster Preview: Avery Moss Adds Depth At Defensive End

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How much impact will fifth-round pick have?

NFL: New York Giants-Rookie Minicamp
Avery Moss
William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have a long history of successful defensive ends, and a reputation for using the NFL Draft to maintain a never-ending supply of pass rusher. Truth is, though, that the Giants have not drafted quality defensive end since taking Jason Pierre-Paul in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

Neither Damontre Moore (Round 3, 2013) nor Owamagbe Odighizuwa (Round 3, 2015) have played up to their draft positions. Moore has bounced from team to team and is now trying to revive his career with the Dallas Cowboys. Odighizuwa finds his career in limbo. After two unproductive seasons he skipped OTAs and there is reason to believe he may not play in 2017.

Enter Avery Moss. The Giants selected the 6-foot-3, 265-pound Youngstown State defensive end in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, 167th overall.

“Avery is really a true defensive end. You don’t see a lot of those guys these days but he’s a true defensive end that can play the run, rush the passer,” GM Jerry Reese said when the Giants drafted Moss. “Big guy, has a lot of upside. We think he is just now scratching the surface of where we think he can be. We really like his skill set and really think he can come in and help us in that d-line group and at that defensive end position.”

Moss spent two seasons at Nebraska and had 36 tackles and 4.5 sacks as a sophomore in 2013 before being banned from campus after pleading no contest to a public indecency charge. He finished his collegiate career at Youngstown State.

Let’s take a closer look at Moss as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the Giants’ 90-man roster.

2016 Season In Review

Moss had 59 tackles, including 42 solo and 17.5 for loss. He had 10.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and three passes defensed for Youngstown State. Moss was a first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference selection. Moss shared Jermaine Hopkins Defensive Lineman of the Year Award honors with teammate Derek Rivers.

Before the 2017 NFL Draft, NFL.com had compared Moss to former Giant Robert Ayers.

Moss is an ascending prospect who possesses the length and juice off the edge expected of open-side rusher. His big closing burst can be felt against both the run and pass and he translates to either 4-3 defensive end or 3-4 rush linebacker. Moss was productive at both Nebraska and Youngstown and his traits could lead to continued success as an eventual NFL starter.

2017 Season Outlook

The Giants have a pair of star defensive ends in Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon. In the games during which they were active, both played more than 90 percent of the team’s defensive snaps. It would behoove the Giants to get both players at least a bit more rest during the upcoming season.

Moss is part of a stable of defensive ends that includes second-year man Romeo Okwara and veterans Kerry Wynn and Romeo Okwara who hope to dot hat. Whether or not the competition will include Odighizuwa will remain to be seen. At times in 2016 the Giants also used linebacker Devon Kennard as a pass-rushing lineman.

The 2017 ceiling for Moss would appear to be as a player the Giants could use as an extra rusher in obvious passing situations.