The Green Bay Packers have a solid safety duo in Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage Jr. Could the Packers add to that group in the 2021 NFL Draft?
The Green Bay Packers have cornerstone pieces at every level on the defensive side of the ball.
Kenny Clark is one of the best young interior defensive linemen. Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith give the Packers one of the best pass-rushing duos in the league.
Jaire Alexander is one of the best young cornerbacks in the league. Adrian Amos is one of the most underrated safeties in the league and, while he isn’t flashy, he does everything well.
It’s worth noting that the oldest player on the defensive side of the ball for the Packers is linebacker Christian Kirksey (28). With the cornerstone pieces in place, it’s up to the general manager, Brian Gutekunst to add the supporting cast around them.
In the 2020 NFL Draft, Gutekunst selected Vernon Scott, a defensive back out of safety. A player that likely caught his eyes when watching Scott was fellow TCU defensive back, Trevon Moehrig.
Moehrig is coming off an impressive 2019 season in which he recorded 62 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, four interceptions, and 15 pass deflections. Moehrig entered the 2020 season as Dane Brugler’s top-ranked safety.
“I’m not sure there is a safety in college football who covered more ground last season than Moehrig. In coverage, he smoothly unlocks his hips to quickly transition, using his long strides to accelerate with deep patterns. Along with his field range, Moehrig is always ball searching, showing a knack for disrupting the catch point.”
The first thing that one notices while watching Moehrig is his range. He flies all over the field, giving the quarterback a small window to throw into. He uses his length and physicality to make life difficult for receivers at the catch point.
“The biggest strength is simply the ground Moehrig is able to cover,” Drew Davison, the TCU beat writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram said. “Playing free safety in Gary Patterson’s 4-2-5 defense, Moehrig is essentially a “quarterback” on defense and dissects plays as well as anyone. He has the athleticism and speed to cover a lot of ground and ensure offenses don’t take the top off the defense.”
That athleticism that Davison mentioned in our recent interview is evident when watching Moehrig in the backend of TCU’s defense. He’s an explosive athlete and was No. 33 in Bruce Feldman’s annual Freaks List.
“The latest in a long line of Gary Patterson’s standout DBs. The junior was the highest-graded safety in FBS last season by Pro Football Focus…At 6-2, 208, Moehrig is a super strong DB, bench pressing 400 pounds, squatting 600 and power cleaning 420. He also vertical jumps 38 inches.”
Trevon Moehrig is damn good.
Outstanding ball skills. He makes life difficult at the catch point with his length. He came in at #33 in Bruce Feldman's freak list. Benches 400. Squats 600. Power cleans 420. Vertical of 38 inches. pic.twitter.com/fr8h7nQvy1
— Brennen Rupp (@royal_rupp) September 9, 2020
Interception numbers can be misleading. They can come off tipped passes. It can be a pass where it was gift-wrapped to the defender. That’s not the case with Moehrig.
Moehrig played wide receiver in high school and it’s evident with the way he plays the ball in the air. He has natural ball skills and attacks it at the highest point. The ball-hawking defensive back also shows good route recognition and does a great job of breaking on the ball.
“I think a lot of it goes back to his high school days when he played wide receiver and cornerback,” Davison said. “The receiver skills flash when he makes plays on the ball and he’s a natural cover guy. That shows up on film to the scouts and analysts I’ve talked with.”
Moehrig checks all of the boxes. He’s got the range, coverage ability, ball skills, versatility, and athleticism to be a difference-maker at the next level.
“Moehrig is more of a natural cover guy than most safeties,” Davison said. “He has the ability to cover deep patterns and has done it well in a conference that always produces first-round wide receivers. More than that, he is always searching for the ball and looking to make impact plays on defense whether it’s a breakup or interception.”
Moehrig is a willing tackler in run support. In fact, he finished second on the team in tackles last season and packs a heavy punch. For him, it’s about cleaning up the missed tackles and being a more consistent finisher. According to PFF, Moehrig missed nine tackles last season.
“Run support is probably the one area where he has the most room for growth,” Davison said. “He’s a willing tackler, but he can become more consistent in run support.”
The Packers appear set at safety with Amos and Darnell Savage Jr. However, the depth behind them could look a lot different heading into the 2021 season.
Raven Greene will be a restricted free agent following the season. Will Redmond will be a free agent and nickel cornerback Chandon Sullivan will be a restricted free agent as well (opening the door for Savage Jr to play more nickel cornerback).
One also has to take into account how much Mike Pettine loves playing with three safeties on the field. In the game on Sunday against the Vikings, Redmond played on 46 percent of the defensive snaps.
It’s not out of the question that Moehrig could be on Green Bay’s radar when the 2021 NFL Draft rolls around. He has the versatility that would allow Pettine to deploy him as a nickel cornerback or as a dime linebacker.
Moehrig’s presence would also allow Savage Jr to play nickel cornerback, something the Packers hinted at this past offseason. Moehrig could then replace Savage Jr at safety.
A team can never have enough playmakers in the secondary. With Alexander, Amos, Savage Jr, and if Kevin King is re-signed the Packers of the makings of one of the best young secondaries in the league.
Adding a playmaker like Moehrig into that mix would give Green Bay an embarrassment of riches in the secondary. With that many impact players roaming the secondary, teams would be hard-pressed to move the ball through the air against the Green Bay Packers.