Minicamp is over, and we face the summer dry spell before the Dallas Cowboys start training camp in Oxnard on July 24th. For now, we will be digesting the small nuggets we gained from the OTAs and minicamp. Not unusually, there appears to be mostly good news for the team. The established players all seemed to do well, while several of the new faces stood out at times. According to Todd Archer in an ESPN article on “under the radar” players to watch, Damontre Moore is a name you may want to keep in mind.
He never panned out as a third-round pick of the Giants in 2013. He spent time with the Dolphins and Seahawks but has just 10 career sacks. He returned home to Texas with a two-year deal that included only a $100,000 signing bonus. He has taken first-team snaps in practice in part because of injuries along the defensive line, but he has made a solid impression on the coaches with his work ethic, speed and ability to even serve as a gunner on the punt team. The Cowboys hope he is their next low-cost pass-rushing find, like George Selvie or Jeremy Mincey. He might not be a Week 1 starter in September, but he can be a part of the pass-rush rotation. -- Todd Archer
Archer is not the only writer to have noticed some good things from Moore.
Two defensive linemen who stood out in today's OTA: Maliek Collins and Damontre Moore.— Rob Phillips (@robphillips3) June 7, 2017
For the past few seasons, good pass rushers have been the unicorn the Cowboys have been chasing. While many have criticized the team for not investing enough, the reality is that they have just had a variety of whiffs. Greg Hardy, DeMarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory, and Charles Tapper all represent attempts to address the problem, but for various reasons, none have panned out. Lawrence and Tapper still have a chance to contribute if they can remain healthy, while no one knows if Gregory can ever overcome his issues. But along with first-round draft pick Taco Charlton and Benson Mayowa, who was reasonably successful in his first season as the team leader in sacks, Dallas now has multiple players they hope can contribute.
Moore represents the best chance to become a real find, however, because of his low cost. Lawrence, Gregory, Tapper and Charlton all represent draft investments, while Mayowa received a healthy $3.3 million signing bonus. As Archer noted, Moore would be a real low-cost find.
He displayed a lot of talent while in college, but has been held back as much by his own struggles with maturity as anything. Now he is hitting that point in the mid-twenties when the light comes on for so many men. The favorable comments about his work ethic and that willingness to find any role that helps the team are some evidence that it has happened for him, as is his solid performance at the end of last season for the Seattle Seahawks last year prior to suffering a foot injury.
Can he be another real find for the Cowboys’ scouting staff? There is a long way to go before we will know, but early signs are certainly encouraging.
A disclaimer must be made here: I am a Texas Aggie, and always have a soft spot for any Aggies that get a chance to wear the Star. But the only thing that really matters is whether they can help the Cowboys. Indications that Moore may earn himself a place as part of the defensive end rotation are welcome, no matter where he went to school.
Dallas needs to find ways to get to the passer. Moore is off to a good start at becoming part of the solution. Keep an eye on him when camp and the preseason get underway.