The New York Giants drafted Damontre Moore in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft in the hopes that he would be able to step into the rotation at defensive end. However, since Moore was drafted the Giants learned that Jason Pierre-Paul would be out until the first week of the regular season at the earliest after undergoing back surgery. This has put a little more urgency on Moore to learn the Giants defense and to not only step into the rotation but step up within it.
The success of the Giants’ defense starts and ends with the ability to get to the opposing quarterback. Last season, the Giants recorded only 33 sacks as a team after tabulating 48 in 2011. The defensive line that recorded those 48 sacks in 2011 is in transition. Osi Umenyiora is gone. Justin Tuck is coming off a second sub-par, injury-riddled season, and Pierre-Paul is a huge question mark heading into the season after back surgery. To help bolster the defensive end rotation the Giants moved Mathias Kiwanuka back to defensive end after a couple of seasons at linebacker and drafted Moore.
Moore started his Texas A&M career at linebacker in a 3-4 defense behind current Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller. As a sophomore he recorded 8.5 sacks. Then, last season, Moore was moved to defensive end and enjoyed a break-out season and racked up 11.5 sacks. Normally, that kind of production would result in a defensive end being selected in the first round but questions about Moore’s maturity and physical strength caused him to drop to the third round where the Giants promptly scooped him up. So far, Moore has shown some nice progress in OTAs and mini-camp but those are hardly iron-clad barometers of what to expect over a 16-game season. They are, however, encouraging.
Moore will be asked to do a little more than he would have had Pierre-Paul been healthy. Moore won’t be alone in being asked to step up. Both Adrian Tracy and Adewale Ojomo were being counted on to contribute this season and both have shown flashes of talent that have excited coaches. Both will need to realize that talent if the Giants defense hopes to return to the top. While the coaching staff will expect more from Ojomo and Tracy since they know the system, Moore will also feel the burden of expectations on his shoulders. It will be up to him to show fans and, more importantly, the coaching staff that he is, in fact, ready to be a major part of the defensive end rotation.