When the New Orleans Saints used back-to-back picks on defensive backs last week in the 2018 NFL Draft, picking Wisconsin DB Natrell Jamerson in the 5th Round (#189 overall) before choosing Boston College DB Kamrin Moore in Round 6 (#201 overall), some draft analysts questioned the team's logic in doing so.
But given the Saints' recent injury history in their defensive secondary — especially back during the 2016 season when they lost BOTH starting #1 and #2 CB's after the first 2 games of the season and were reduced to literally signing free agent players "off the street" — it's actually pretty easy to understand their thought-process and motivation behind the selection of both players.
In the case of Moore in particular, due to the sheer amount of players now on the roster who all figure to be a part of the Saints' secondary for the upcoming 2018 NFL season, it's reasonable to expect that the former Boston College star won’t get much playing time this year.
If anything: the selection of Moore seems to be more of an "insurance policy" at this point, just in case another season's worth of injuries to their defensive secondary like the ones from 2016, were to happen to the Saints ever again.
One thing that could become the 'saving grace' for Moore however, is that he has the potential to contribute right away on special teams for New Orleans, after playing special teams at BC for all 4 years.
Moore told the New Orleans media via teleconference following his selection on the final day of the draft, that he played on four special teams units all through his college with the Golden Eagles: "That's how I got on the field as a freshman," he said.
As a senior at Boston College last year, Moore started 10 games, made 50 tackles and broke up nine passes. During his career, Moore played in 44 games, making 140 tackles (six for losses), had two interceptions, recovered two fumbles and broke up 24 passes.
Moore was also selected as team captain by his teammates prior to the start of the 2017 season, so his leadership ability is a definite "added plus" for any one who still might have some remaining questions in their mind, about why the Saints chose him.
Moore was confident he would be drafted; but said to reporters later on after his selection by the Saints was announced, that he didn’t know what round that it would happen, hearing anywhere from as high as the 3rd Round.
“I just wanted to be on a team, and now I want to get on the field, make an impact and get better every day,” Moore said.
“Since I was a little kid, I’ve always wanted to play on a professional football team. Now I have my chance."
The biggest question for Moore going forward is how much of an impact can he actually make in the Saints defensive secondary, given the glutton of bodies that now occupy the Saints CB group.
Moore now adds his name to a list at the CB position for New Orleans that already includes Marshon Lattimore, Ken Crawley, Patrick Robinson, PJ Williams, De'Vante Harris, Natrell Jamerson, and Arthur Maulet.
Even though Moore wasn't taken until the 201st overall selection in Round 6, he actually got taken slightly higher than most predicted.
His past history with injuries are a bit concerning, since despite starting all 10 games that he played as a senior, a shoulder injury ended his season. Prior to that, a tibia fracture shortened his 2015 season to eight games.
"I'm good now," said Moore, who was cleared by NFL doctors in Indianapolis right before the Draft during a routine follow-up medical "re-check", which took place a few weeks after scouts got a look at him during the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine.
The 5-foot-11, 203-pound Moore said he had "a great interview" with the Saints at the Senior Bowl and the team worked him out after the Boston College Pro Day. Moore said he played inside and outside corner in college, and he says that he also can play free safety if called upon.
But besides the notable injury history, there are some scouts who also believe that Moore's limited athleticism and under-developed ball skills, could work to go against him.
Cover 1 NFL Draft expert Erik Turner says that Moore's best path to NFL success besides becoming an invaluable special teams contributor, is at the Slot CB position. Turner says that Moore is not a prototype mirror corner, a guy that has the feet and speed to follow receivers of all types all over the field.
But what Moore flourishes at is playing in "off-zone" coverage, or as the Saints would actually refer to it: 'Nickel' or 'Slot' cornerback.
The modern slot defender must be able to play "off-zone" coverage very well. He must adjust and align immediately to option routes, when receivers change their patterns based on the defender's position. He must be strong and aggressive enough to hold up against the run and blitz successfully, but at least quick enough to follow a "speed" receiver 40 yards up the seam, or convert his coverage when a running back rolls out of the backfield and into the formation.
It's a very tough job, and Turner says that Moore's specialty is in situations where he is able to utilize his ability to mentally process two- and three-man route combinations. Turner says that Moore has shown the ability to process several different route combinations, and routinely puts his body in position to keep those routes and the quarterback in his line of sight while in off-zone coverage.
It is not his only positive trait, but it is one that Turner believes can make Moore a major asset at the next level.
"I think with Moore, you see him play nickel (and) you know you can see him have the flexibility and can go back and be a safety", Saints head coach Sean Payton said to the media following the Draft's completion.
Moving forward into the off-season, it will be interesting to see where Moore lines up, and what particular vision that the Saints have for him.
Could he beat out PJ Williams? Maybe. Could he beat out Arthur Maulet? Possibly.
Could he beat out De’Vante Harris, even? Probably.
Then again, maybe he won't beat out any of them.
In fact, there's no guarantee that he will even make the final 53-man roster despite being drafted.
But if nothing else, the Saints selection of Moore can be viewed as an "insurance policy" — in case an unenviable situation such as the one that the organization found itself in during the 2016 season, doesn't happen once again.