What’s a New York Giants draft without drafting a defensive player? The Giants lived up to that reputation in the fifth round of the NFL Draft, taking Youngstown State defensive end Avery Moss with the No. 167th overall pick.
Moss played two seasons at Youngstown State, where he posted 84 tackles, 13 sacks, 22 tackles for loss, five forced fumbles, and five pass breakups. It is important to note that Moss spent his first season as a reserve. In his 2016 season, Moss had 59 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, and four forced fumbles. As a result, Moss was named to first-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference.
“Oh, man it felt so great,” said Moss, about where he was and the emotions he felt when getting the call from the Giants. “I am here at the Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas with my grandma – she just had a stroke a couple days ago, so I was just with her and we were ecstatic to get the news.”
The six-foot-three, 264 lbs. defensive end has one quality strength, and that is his long-limbs. Moss has shown that he can be slippery against offensive lineman and acceleration to get to the quarterback. This is something that the Giants will be more than happy to have as defensive line depth.
“I am relentless when it comes to effort,” said Moss. “I never want to give up on a play just because it is never done until the whistle is blown and I think I can definitely try to assist and learn from the D-ends that are already there and then just try to add on in terms of a pass rush standpoint, try to make some noise and help New York get to something big.”
Despite his play on the field, a lot of character concerns about Moss have been raised throughout the combine, as well as his time at the University of Nebraska. Moss was dismissed from the school during his true freshman year after going into a dormitory hall that he was banned from. This came after he was charged with public indecency for exposing himself to a student-worker at a convenience store. Moss spent time working at a local car dealership in Lincoln, Nebraska for his year off from the University of Nebraska, before transferring to Youngstown State University.
Moss is ready to move on from his past troubles, as he knows he has the opportunity of a lifetime.
“I definitely learned from everything,” said Moss. “I attended counseling from that incident and am two years graduated from that. It was a blessing not only to have this chance to be a New York Giant and play for the National Football League, but it’s a blessing just to get a second chance to play the game at another university.”
The Giants did their homework on Moss and reached the conclusion that they were willing to take the chance on Moss by drafting him.
“…he has had some issues and we think he’s well past those things,” said Giants general manager Jerry Reese. “We’ll definitely keep an eye on that and if he needs any help in respect to that, we’ll definitely be there to help him. He’s a really well-spoken young man that has been through some things. We think he has everything together now.”
“We have tests that we give, a psychological test; obviously, with a person like Avery, who has something that was known, you do extra,” said Giants Vice President of Player Evaluation Marc Ross. “That’s what we’ve done throughout the whole process and we felt good about taking him right now, based on his last two years of maturity and the help that he’s received. So we felt good about him as a person.”
Let’s hope that his past troubles serve as great learning experiences for Moss, as he has a ton of potential. It helps when he has veteran players on the defense to shadow and become mentored by. Moss has the perfect environment to thrive as a professional athlete, and if it works out, it is a win-win for both parties.