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2020 NFL Draft prospect profile: Zack Moss, RB, Utah

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Zack Moss could be the perfect complement to Saquon Barkley, but could could his stock be too high?

NCAA Football: Alamo Bowl-Utah vs Texas Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have a number of decisions to make around their roster over the course of the 2020 off season. There are the obvious positions of need, but the Giants can’t afford to turn away upgrades at any position on their roster.

So while they might be fine at running back with Wayne Gallman Jr. and Javorius Allen backing up Saquon Barkley, that doesn’t mean they can’t do better.

Utah running back Zack Moss is a compact and powerful downhill runner who has been remarkably productive over the last two seasons. He is a capable receiver and his ability to run between the tackles could be an excellent complement to Barkley. But his draft stock very well could rise to the point where the Giants don’t dare spend a draft pick on him.

The draft can get wild, however, and talented players drop far further than expected, so it makes sense to take a look at everybody.

Prospect: Zack Moss (RB, Utah)
Games Watched: vs. Washington (2019), vs. BYU (2019), vs. Oregon (2019), vs. Texas (2019)
Red Flags: Knee (2018)

Measurables

Stats

Games Played: 45 (36 starts)
Yards: 4,067 (yards)
Carries (YPC): 712 (5.7 yards per carry)
Receptions (yards/ypc): 66 receptions (685 yards, 10.4 yards per catch)
Total Touchdowns (rushing/receiving): 41 touchdowns (38 rushing, 3 receiving)

2019 Stats:
Rushing: 235 carries, 1,416 yards (6.02 per carry), 15 touchdowns
Receiving: 28 receptions, 388 yards (10.3 per catch), 3 touchdowns

Quick Summary

Best: Contact balance, downhill running, burst, competitive toughness, receiving, tempo
Worst: Cutback ability, off-tackle running, pass protection
Projection: A starting running back in an offense which uses a power running scheme and uses backs as receivers

Game Tape

Full Report

Utah running back Zack Moss has a compact, powerful frame with a naturally low center of gravity and good thickness throughout his upper and lower body. Moss is comfortable lining up beside the quarterback in the shotgun set as well as behind center in an “i” formation. He shows good patience behind the line of scrimmage, waiting for his blocks to be established. Moss has good vision when running between the tackles, identifying holes as they flash open. From there he shows very good explosiveness through the hole and to the second level. Moss flashes an effective jump cut to make a single defender miss behind the line of scrimmage or in space. Moss also runs with very good tempo, using slight variations to throw off defenders’ timing and prevent them from getting clean tackle attempts.

He has very good contact balance and is able to shrug off shoulder checks and run through arm tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage. Once in the open field he shows a second gear and enough long speed to create big plays. Moss is a very physical runner with great competitive toughness. He consistently looks to fight for extra yardage after contact and finish his runs behind his pads.

Moss is a capable receiver out of the backfield, showing good discipline to flash his hands late. He has a tendency to look idle on plays, convincing defenders to leave him alone and allowing the opportunity to pick up chunk yardage. Moss is a natural hands catcher who presents a good target for his quarterback and is reliable catching the ball. He is quick to turn upfield and is a threat to create after the catch.

Moss is a much better receiving option than pass protector. He is willing but does not show good technique or the ability to anchor against pass rushers. He can also be prone to missing or not identifying assignments in blitz pick-up. Moss is also a better runner inside than outside. He has the speed to gain the edge on off-tackle runs, but does not show the same vision and processing speed he does between the tackles. He also shows an extreme reluctance to give up on plays and can lose yardage trying to make something out of a play that is blown up behind the line of scrimmage. Moss’ 2018 season was ended early by a knee injury.

Overall Grade: 6.2 - Has several above average traits and some limitations. Could be a starter or an important rotation player in the right situation. A good value in the early-middle rounds. [Grading Scale]

Projection

Zack Moss projects as a starting runningback in the NFL. He would be best in a down-hill, power-based rushing attack built on man-gap or inside zone concepts. He is capable of running off-tackle or in outside-zone concepts, but doesn’t show the same comfort and play speed he does between the tackles. Moss is a very physical runner who consistently looks to pick up extra yardage and finish plays behind his pads. However, he is also a very competitive runner who consistently looks to pick up yards after contact. He has an impressive ability to vary his running tempo and use that to manipulate defenders. Moss consistently breaks defender’s angles with subtle changes to his tempo and speed, which allow him to use his contact balance to withstand poor tackle attempts.

He is capable of running off-tackle, but inside runs should make up the bulk of his carries.

Moss is much better used as a receiving threat than a blocker in the pass game. He can be effective as a quick check-down option with reliable hands and the ability to pick up yards after the catch, but he is not a good pass protector right now.

Teams will want to do a full medical work-up on his knee. The injury which ended his 2018 season was described as “weird” by his head coach. It involved the knee locking up as he got into bed during the week, but the initial injury was likely sustained at some point before that and had gone undiagnosed. Moss has also had a very high volume of carries and would likely be well-served to be in a running back rotation to limit wear.