In Twitter discussion this week, a name popped up in my mind that hadn’t appeared in several weeks.
That was Baltimore Ravens defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore.
It’s easy to forget Lewis-Moore even plays in Baltimore, since the 2013 sixth-round pick (200th overall) spent his entire rookie campaign on the injured list, recovering from an ACL injury suffered in last year’s BCS title game.
When the Ravens selected him, it was a typical “draft and stash” move, where the intention is for him to essentially “redshirt” his rookie year, similar to college football (different reason, but same concept).
Lewis-Moore was one of three Ravens rookies to “redshirt” during their rookie year, as offensive lineman Ryan Jensen and wide receiver Aaron Mellette spent their first years in the NFL watching the games from the sideline.
Of the three, Lewis-Moore figures to have the largest role during his Ravens career.
In fact, if Lewis-Moore can fully recover from his ACL tear, he could turn out to be one of the better selections of Baltimore’s 10 draft picks from 2013.
Next season, Lewis-Moore should be a part of the regular rotation at defensive end. With Art Jones set to become an unrestricted free agent and the odds against him returning to Baltimore, Lewis-Moore could assume a similar role that Jones had prior to Jones’ breakout during the second half of the 2012 season.
Like Jones, Lewis-Moore will likely make his living initially as a situational player who can excel as a pass-rushing end.
In fact, the two are eerily similar as players, and it’s hard not to think the Ravens saw Lewis-Moore as a potential Jones replacement with 2014 free agency looming.
At Notre Dame, Lewis-Moore was a captain for the Fighting Irish, playing defensive end in both four and three-man fronts.
Prior to the 2013 draft, he was listed at 6’4, 298 pounds, and at Ravens training camp last year, he looked relatively slim for an NFL defensive end. Bulking up will have to come with time and one source has even indicated that Lewis-Moore practiced with the team at 314 during the last three weeks of the season.
The former Golden Domer wins is at his best when hand fighting. While capable of driving through a blocker, his best asset is the constant movement of his feet and hands. Lewis-Moore is as energetic as defensive ends come, and the continuous movement can catch linemen off guard.
This is similar to Jones, who incorporates heavy hand usage to complement his ability to drive through blockers.
Dipping his shoulder and going through linemen instead of around them is also part of Lewis-Moore’s repertoire.
For example, his quickness allows him to catch linemen off-guard with a quick dip, yielding positive results.
On this play, he engaged with his hand usage, prior to hitting the lineman with a quick drive move, ultimately coming up with the sack.
It’s hard not to think of Jones when watching the 2013 rookie.
Jones didn’t truly burst onto the scene until his third NFL season, when he showed the makings of a defensive end who is about to receive a hefty payday after four NFL seasons.
Coming off a year without football and still zero NFL experience thus far, expectations should be tempered for Lewis-Moore in 2014.
Nonetheless, still expect to see him on the field next year.
If his injury is something that won’t hamper him in the long run, Lewis-Moore figures to outplay his sixth-round label during his time in Baltimore.