We’re a ways off from the 2023 NFL Draft, but if there’s one prospect that catches my eye and that’d look good in Silver & Black, it’s Riley Moss.
The Iowa cornerback’s impressive resume as a ballhawk defender (11 career interceptions during his tenure as a Hawkeye from 2018-2022) that’s instinctual, smart, and dependable are all traits sorely missing in the Las Vegas Raiders secondary. Productivity and availability are must-haves as the Silver & Black are reshaping their roster and fortifying a defense and Moss can bring it in spades.
Tale of the Tape: Riley Moss
- School: Iowa
- Position: Cornerback|
- Height: 6-foot-1
- Weight: 194 pounds
- 2022 Stats: 47 total tackles (31 solo), 1 interception, 11 passes defensed, 2 forced fumbles
- Career Stats: 158 total tackles (123 solo), 11 interceptions, 26 passes defensed, 2 forced fumbles, 3 defensive touchdowns
At 6-foot-1 and 194 pounds, Moss has the requisite size to play in the pros and has the collegiate production to merit solid looks by all 32 teams as we head towards the draft in April.
Moss opened eyes during Senior Bowl practices as he showcased electric speed — something that was an unknown commodity up until that point — and fluid movement ability. It was the lack of top-end speed and agility that resulted in projections of Moss having to move from cornerback to safety when he lands in the NFL.
Fastest DB from @seniorbowl National team on Day 1 yesterday? It was the guy who many are lazily projecting to safety, Iowa’s Riley Moss. @R_moss5 hit 19.73 on @ZebraTechnology tracking data. pic.twitter.com/wwA8aeYSmc— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) February 1, 2023
The move to safety is based on Moss’ physicality. He’s a willing tackler who disengages from blocks well to get his nose dirty in run support and will arrive to the ball carrier hot. That has to be appealing to Graham who seeks all his defensive backs to be equal parts cover men and tacklers. Moss is also a read-react type defender who diagnosis quickly and makes a play on the ball or ballcarrier.
The physicality Moss exhibits helps tremendously when he’s asked to matchup in press man coverage. However, when he fails to jam the receiver, Moss has shown trouble recovering on the backend. Moss’ strength is in zone coverage as he’s able to read the backfield and shoot into throwing lanes to disrupt the play. Opposing quarterbacks who targeted Moss during his time at Iowa were limited to a 78.5 passer rating.
Patrick Graham exhibited both man and zone concepts in his initial year as Raiders defensive coordinator and having a talent like Moss on the roster would allow him to continue to be flexible. Fortunately for Las Vegas, they got a ton of valuable information on the Senior Bowl participants, Moss included, as defensive coordinator Patrick Graham served as the head coach for the National Team.
Coincidentally, that’s the team Moss played for.
Yet, Graham isn’t one to tip his hand — even if the Raiders got an “inside the building” in-depth look at all the participants.
“It’s a very competitive league, so whoever we like, we’re not going to show our hand at all,” Graham said after the Senior Bowl experience.
Draft projection: Moss is a prospect that’s projected to go as high as Day 2 (rounds two and three) or Day 3 (rounds four through seven). The upcoming NFL Combine will likely leave the waters less murky with official measurables. How fast Moss runs the 40-yard dash, for example. Yet, Moss would be a high-value third-round or late-round pick if available for the Raiders. His work ethic is akin to elite Raiders defender Maxx Crosby.