Once Grambling’s David Moore knocked off the rust, the good times began to roll for the Tigers’ offensive lineman last week at the Reese’s Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, Ala., in front of countless NFL observers.
By the time the game kicked off Saturday afternoon, Moore had made his mark, starting with a pancake. Pancake block, that is.
“Going into the week, I wanted to build some confidence and know that I belonged. Going against the best of the best, I had to be on my Ps and Qs, ready at all times, going fast as I could, finishing every rep. That was my mindset,” he said Sunday.
“Things were going well and then I got a massive pancake in practice, and that was a big moment. It showed me I belonged, and I think everybody took notice.”
They did. Performances like that throughout the week earned the proud Grambling graduate recognition not only from scouts and coaches, but the players on the other side of the line.
After practices wrapped up Friday, Moore (6-1 ½, 350) was voted top offensive lineman on the American team by the team’s defensive linemen, and was recognized at an awards ceremony on the night before the nationally-televised college all-star game.
And he earned praise from draft analysts like Luca Sartirana, who listed him among the “biggest risers” at the Senior Bowl and Tweeted: “He played guard at Grambling but took some reps at center. He can really shut down the rush and he’s athletic in the open field. His upside is massive.”
Said analyst Matt Lane: “David Moore was seriously unbelievable yesterday. Just moving DTs around at will and locking them in place as soon as they try to work and counter.”
His pathway was uphill last week, as it always is for prospects from the FCS level of Division I, and HBCU’s, with skeptics and analysts eager to see how those perceived “diamonds in the rough” stack up against “the big boys” from the BCS level – the elite programs like Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Texas A&M, Ohio State, USC, et al, as well as top prospects from Group of 5 leagues like Conference USA, the Sun Belt, the Mountain West, and the rest. The degree of difficulty was even higher for Moore, because he hadn’t played football at all in over a year.
“I was shaking off the rust,” he said. “Thanksgiving of 2019 (in the Bayou Classic) was the last time I played a game, really, the last time I did anything on the field. Our spring practice was cancelled because of Covid and then the fall season got postponed to this spring. I didn’t do anything on the field in the fall.”
After the 2020 season was postponed, Moore consulted Tigers head coach Broderick Fobbs, offensive line coach Reginald Nelson, and his family, having already earned his criminal justice degree, then declared for the NFL Draft last fall. He announced his arrival last week in Mobile. Friday night’s honor topped a head-turning week, even before kickoff Saturday.
“It was respect. It means a whole lot more, coming from your peers, the guys you competed against head-to-head all week in practice. That was huge. That validated my decision. I was ecstatic.”
On the American roster, Moore played for Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule and OL coach Pat Meyer.
“I had a great time with those guys. Coach Meyer was really helpful and made it a very good experience for me,” he said. “It’s a once in a lifetime experience. I’m grateful for the opportunity. I lived in the moment and enjoyed every moment.”
The Tiger standout, a Little Rock native, also made impact without shoulder pads on.
“I was also considered the clown. I made it a family vibe, took tension out of the room and made it fun for everyone.”
Now he’s having fun reflecting on his surge in draft prominence, but he’s not relaxing. Work intensifies as he prepares for his Pro Day, either at Grambling or perhaps at LSU. Because of Covid, there’s no NFL Draft Combine this year.
“I definitely improved my draft stock a lot last week. Pro Day is going to be the cherry on top.”