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Alabama Crimson Tide NFL Draft 2021 Prospects: Dylan Moses

From 8th grade phenom to an uncertain draft pick, the hyper-athletic linebacker has had a tumultuous career

NCAA Football: SEC Championship-Alabama at Florida Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Back in 2012, a news story broke that LSU had offered some 8th grade kid a scholarship, and the internet exploded with all kinds of “HAS RECRUITING GONE TOO FAR???” outbursts. You could be forgiven if you’d forgotten about that a few weeks later and never thought about that news story again.

His workout numbers certainly don’t reflect that youth. In addition to the blistering 40 time, the 6-foot, 205-pound middle schooler posted a broad jump of 9 feet, 3 inches and a 34-inch vertical leap. Impressive as they were, the latter two weren’t so surprising to his father.

“I already knew that he could jump the 34-inch vertical, and we were actually working toward 9 feet in the broad jump. I didn’t think it was going to come then, but I felt it coming,” Edward Moses said. “The 40 — that blew me away. I wasn’t expecting a 4.46 40-yard dash.”

Dylan Moses was in the news way earlier than any kid ever should be due to his crazy athleticism, and he went on to become a 5-star prospect as both a running back and a linebacker after transferring to IMG Academy. He stayed committed to LSU for years, but ultimately decided to join the Alabama Crimson Tide during his senior season. He wanted to specialize at defense, and still ran a sub 4.5 forty as a 230 pound tackling machine.

As a true freshman in 2017, Moses was quickly thrust into a rotational piece as Alabama lost multiple starters at linebacker in the season opener against Florida State. He worked some as an inside linebacker and some as an edge rusher early in the season, and then was seen mostly on special teams through the middle part of the year.

At the end of the season, an injury to Shaun Dion Hamilton forced Moses into a nearly full-time role, and he again would work as an inside linebacker as well as a pass rusher on 3rd downs. That kind of versatility in roles showed how highly the coaches thought of him even as a true freshman, and he earn an SEC All-Freshman team bid.

In his sophomore season, Moses stepped in as a full-time linebacker alongside the older Mack Wilson. He racked up 86 tackles and 10 tackles for loss on his way to being named a Butkus Award finalist. Moses was prone to the occasional bust on playcalls (forgivable for a first-year starter), but flashed tremendous closing speed and a knack for knifing in between blockers to make impact solo tackles.

Going into his 3rd season, he was slated to take up the reigns as the Tide’s primary signal caller as the Mike linebacker, and was a common pick to be the best linebacker in the nation. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL the week before the season opener, and spent the next 12 months rehabbing.

He returned for his senior season, but was obviously not the same player he was before. He still had all the speed and size of the generational athlete we’d expected since 2012, but seemed to be a step behind on his reactions in pass coverage and often hesitant to really rush into the scrum of the line of scrimmage to take on blocks.

Both he and Coach Saban spoke often before, during, and after the season about his mental struggles with trusting his knee again, trying to get comfortable with and, and also taking on the full-time responsibility of a senior Mike linebacker that, due to circumstance, was actually just in his first season as a starter in that role. He also revealed that he was injured again in 2020, and played the entire season with a torn meniscus.

Tabbed a likely first round pick for years, Moses saw his stock with the NFL Draft media plummet throughout the season. He’s now generally considered around the 10th best linebacker in the draft, and generally viewed as a Day 3 selection.

If a team views him as an uber-athlete with a lot of experience in the top high school and college football programs who never quite put things together due to bad injury luck, they may take a flyer on him earlier. But there will be plenty of teams scared away by the lack of production and lack of dominant play for someone of his pedigree.

(Moses wore #18 as a freshman before switching to #32 as a sophomore, so you’ll see both numbers in this video)