Giants select sack master Damontre Moore of Texas A&M in third round
Damontre Moore's numbers at the combine likely scared a lot of teams away from him. He ran a 4.95 in the 40-yard dash and completed only 12 bench presses. But there were other numbers in which the Giants were more interested, the ones they kept in mind while the defensive end from Texas A&M was dangling above them in the third round of the NFL draft Friday night.
"Twelve and a half," Giants director of college scouting Marc Ross said slowly. "Twenty one."
Those are the numbers of sacks and tackles for a loss that Moore posted last season as a junior. The Giants decided to eschew Moore's workout numbers (at least some of them) and a few hints of off-the-field issues that include a June 2011 arrest for marijuana possession to select him with the hopes that he can become the next great Giants pass rusher.
"That's why we brought him in here," coach Tom Coughlin said when asked if Moore can become an elite sack producer.
In his three-year career at Texas A&M, Moore totaled 26 1/2 sacks and 45 tackles for a loss and earned the nickname "DeMonster." Coming off a season in which the Giants' defense accounted for only 33 sacks with no player having more than 6 1/2, and losing Osi Umenyiora to free agency this offseason, the Giants certainly could use an impact player coming off the edge in passing situations.
"You can't pass on guys with those kinds of sack numbers," general manager Jerry Reese said.
Though Moore's sprinting and lifting may not have been impressive, the Giants loved his shuttle numbers and other measures of athleticism and quickness. He had a 35 1/2-inch vertical leap.
Moore played outside linebacker -- a position called "joker'' -- in his first two years at Texas A&M before converting to a full-time 4-3 defensive end. The Giants likely will use him in that position but also can stand him up as an outside pass rusher. They have done that with Mathias Kiwanuka and others. If Moore can handle that role in the regular season, it would allow Kiwanuka to become a more dedicated defensive end.
The Giants were not eager to compare Moore to any of their more recent pass rushers. "Let's see what he is," Coughlin said.
Moore, too, shied from comparisons.
"I'm me," he said. "I go in and do what I do."
"Those are guys who ran really slow but played fast on the tape," Ross said. But even the scout with encyclopedic references could not come up with a comparison to the way Moore rushes the quarterback.
Many thought Moore would be a first-round pick when the college football season began in 2012, and he certainly had the stats to bolster that opinion. He said he was surprised to still be available in the third round. Besides his combine numbers, there were also questions about his maturity. He'll still be 20 years old when the 2013 season begins. Coughlin noted that he gave high effort in games but not always in practices.
Moore will be asked to change that. And maybe even change the defense.
"There are so many talented people there that I just want to come in close-mouthed and open-minded," Moore said. "I think I'm pretty good, but that was in the past. I'm looking forward to coming in and proving myself now."