2015 NFL DRAFT
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Donte Moss

| | College: North Carolina
 
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Overview

The highly-touted high school star did not make as big of an impact as he would have liked as a freshman, playing in eight games, making just five tackles, including two sacks.

But his numbers greatly increased after the depth chart thinned out due to suspensions in 2010. He started 12 of 13 games, making 49 tackles, 13.5 for loss, and seven sacks. His 1.5 sacks, forced fumble and blocked extra point helped the team get a Music City Bowl few expected given all of the talent lost to scandal during the season.

Paige-Moss' immaturity was on display during his freshman year in an on-campus altercation with a teammate and post-game dust-up with a North Carolina State player (which resulted in his being suspended for the team's bowl game).

Heading into the 2011 season many regarded Paige-Moss was every bit the first-round candidate as his more celebrated teammate Quinton Coples.

Paige-Moss recorded 49 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks as a sophomore, including a dazzling all-around performance (six tackles, 2.5 for loss, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble, blocked kick) in North Carolina's Music City Bowl win over Tennessee that seemed to establish him as a young star on the rise.

Unfortunately, like a lot of the UNC Tar Heels, it seemed as though Paige-Moss entered the 2011 season caught up in his own hype. The explosiveness and relentlessness that had been evident in his game earlier in his career wasn't as apparent as the 2011 season began. Though Paige-Moss saw action in all 13 games in 2011, he was passed up on the depth chart by sophomore Keenan Martin and didn't start a game.

The frustration of seeing his playing time and statistics cut (29 tackles, four tackles for loss, two sacks in 2011) had pushed Paige-Moss to explore leaving UNC for a shot at the NFL. Paige-Moss was active early against Missouri in the Independence Bowl, recording three tackles and again demonstrating the combination of athleticism and size that had led talent evaluators from 4-3 and 3-4 teams, alike, to value him. Unfortunately, Paige-Moss suffered a torn ACL in his right knee against the Tigers, putting at least the beginning of next season in doubt.

Rather than consider redshirting next season and recovering from the injury, Paige-Moss informed UNC officials Jan. 2 that he was leaving early for the NFL.

Though it had been known that Paige-Moss was considering making the jump, once news of his injury spread it appeared likely he'd return. The Tar Heels may have been surprised, as well, as they officially announced the junior's decision via their Twitter feed rather than offer up the press conference and/or statement traditionally associated with news of this magnitude.

Scouts can't help but acknowledge Paige-Moss' athletic gifts. However, considering his play regressed in 2011, his injury and the fact that Paige-Moss has had run-ins with authorities in the past, the junior pass rusher is going to have a hard time convincing teams to spend anything more than a late-round pick on his services this April. That's a steep fall considering he was once viewed as a viable first-round choice as a 4-3 end or 3-4 linebacker.

Analysis

Pass rush: Flashes strength and leverage to bull rush tackles into the quarterback, able to rip inside or outside and reach the quarterback while engaged. Keeps moving towards the passer until the ball is away, getting most sacks on secondary hustle rushes. Able to spin off block to return to pocket if pushed outside. Rarely allowed to rush wide in UNC's scheme, usually contains the edge, slips inside, or used on end-tackle twists. Look flexible enough to turn the corner while engaged, though. Drops into coverage from a three-point stance on some plays, affects passing lanes with his height and length. Defeats cut blocks well with his hands, keeps his eyes on the quarterback, jumps into passing lanes to knock down throws at the line. Must learn to use violent hands to release from blockers more regularly.

Run defense: Plays with natural bend and strength at the point of attack, does not get washed out like many defensive ends because of his anchor. Coached to contain on his side of the line, capable of forcing running backs east-west and uses his long arms to wrap them if they try to cut inside. Takes down fullback cut blocks, stays in the play. Must be aware of, and anchor more consistently against, double-teams on the edge.

Explosion: Does not have an elite first step as a pass rusher, but is able to pressure tackles' upfield shoulder when given the chance to pin his ears back. Comes off the snap low and hard when playing the run, usually finishes on the opponents' side of the line when asked to play over the tackle.

Strength: Gets stronger each year, has great upside as a three-down defender. Usually plays with leverage on the edge against the run and pushes through single and double-team blocks as a pass rusher. Gets low in short-yardage situations to maintain the line of scrimmage. Loses his anchor at times, getting pushed back a bit a yard or two, when arms aren't extended into blocker.

Tackling: Does not have elite hustle and quickness to the ball, but combines length and strength to be an effective tackler around the line or chasing downfield. Plays lower than expected at his height, with good natural bend to break down quickly and wrap up in space. Closes on most quarterbacks when they start to scramble, also capable of chasing them down toward the sideline on bootlegs.

Intangibles: Had trouble keeping his temper during his first year at UNC: arrested for simple assault in July 2009 after getting into a fight with a teammate in a dorm room, then suspended for Meineke Car Care Bowl last year for an incident with a N.C. State player after their match-up. Reportedly maturing as a person and player, though still shows excitement and confidence on the field after making a big play.

--Chad Reuter

2011 Season

Paige-Moss played in all 13 games in 2011 and posted 29 tackles, including four tackles for losses and two sacks. He also broke up two passes and had two quarterback hurries. Paige-Moss had his best season in 2010 when he started 12 of 13 games and had 49 tackles, 13.5 tackles for losses and seven sacks.

2010 Season

Played in all 13 games and started 12 at defensive end … Played, but did not start against Rutgers … Played his best football down the stretch with 10.5 of his 13.5 tackles for losses coming in the second half of the season … Finished the regular season with 49 tackles, 13.5 tackles for losses of 77 yards, 7.0 sacks for 57 yards, and one pass breakup … Ranked second on the team in tackles for losses and sacks … Was seventh in the ACC in sacks … Was one of the team's defensive players of the game in the Music City Bowl win over Tennessee when he posted six tackles, 2.5 tackles for losses, 1.5 sacks, one forced fumble and one blocked kick … Blocked an extra point in the fourth quarter, which kept Tennessee's lead at three … Carolina later kicked a field goal to tie the game … Had three tackles and a half sack in the win at Duke … Had the best game of his career against NC State with 10 tackles, four tackles for losses and two sacks … Assisted on a sack and had two tackles vs. Virginia Tech … Registered a 9-yard sack and had four tackles at Florida State … Posted five tackles vs. William & Mary and had a 12-yard sack on the Tribe's final series … Had one tackle in the win at Virginia and the win vs. Clemson … Posted two tackles in the wins over ECU and Rutgers … Made five tackles against Georgia Tech … Made his first career start vs. LSU in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game and had five tackles and a tackle for loss.

2009 Season

Played in eight games as a true freshman and had five tackles on the season … Posted two tackles vs. Georgia Southern, including his first career sack … Also had a sack in Carolina's win at Virginia Tech … Made tackles against Georgia Tech and Boston College.

High School

SuperPrep and Parade All-America … Member of recruiting analyst Tom Lemming's All-America Team … Lemming's No. 8 rated overall player and No. 2 defensive end … Rated the No. 1 defensive end in the country by Scout.com … Considered the No. 1 player in North Carolina by The Charlotte Observer and Rivals.com … Ranked the No. 16 player in the country by Rivals.com … Member of the Rivals 100 … Considered one of ESPN.com's top 150 prospects in the country … ESPN.com considers him the No. 6 defensive end in the country … Rated the best defensive end in the nation against the run and No. 5 pass rusher by Rivals.com … Rated Rivals.com's No. 1 strongside defensive end … Ranked the No. 2 player in North Carolina by SuperPrep … Member of PrepStar's Dream Team and the No. 26 overall player in the country … Played at tailback and defensive end … As a senior, he rushed for 524 yards and scored 20 touchdowns and had 28 sacks on defense in leading Northside to a 14-1 record … Posted 90 tackles, eight sacks and forced six fumbles, while rushing for 15 touchdowns as a junior … Played in the US Army All-American Bowl … Was one of four finalists for the US Army All-American Bowl's speed and strength award … Member of the Atlanta Journal's Super Southern 100 … Member of North Carolina's Shrine Bowl team … Coached by Bob Eason.

Personal

Son of Donna Paige and Keith Moss … Born April 11, 1991 … Would like to own a 1964 Impala … Dream job is to produce and act on Broadway … People say he looks like model Tyson Beckford … Favorite TV show is "Everybody Hates Chris" … Would like to visit Jamaica … Prays and listens to music before every game … His mother, Donna, has had the biggest impact on his life … Communications major.

 
 
Latest News
04/09/2012 - 2012 NFL COMBINE MEDICAL RECHECK: DE Donte Moss, North Carolina (6-3, 268): Paige-Moss tore the ACL in his right knee during North Carolina's Independence Bowl loss to Missouri but the junior defensive end still elected to enter the draft after his junior season. The injury and expected recovery time could keep him sidelined for the entire 2012 season, making it unlikely that an NFL team will invest anything more than a late-round pick to acquire his services. To assure even that, doctors will want to make sure that Paige-Moss is healing on schedule. - Frank Cooney, NFLDraftScout.com

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