Per source, the Broncos have agreed to terms with third-round pick Riley Moss on a four-year rookie deal.— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) May 12, 2023
Moss is now the third member of the Broncos' rookie class to sign ahead of their rookie minicamp this weekend. These deals are a formality, but I would expect the entire rookie class to be officially signed by the end of the weekend.
Riley Moss played a total of five seasons at Iowa and was a productive player for their defense. During those five years, Moss played a total of 43 games and totaled 158 tackles, 5 tackles for a loss, 11 interceptions, 3 defensive touchdowns, 26 pass deflections, and 2 forced fumbles. This past season, he totaled 47 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, 1 interception, 11 pass deflections, and 2 forced fumbles.
A four-year starter at Iowa, Moss was the right outside cornerback in defensive coordinator Phil Parker’s press-man and zone-match schemes. Only a two-star recruit, he was pushed into action as a true freshman and put together a strong five-year resume for the Hawkeyes, finishing top 10 in school history in career interceptions (11). Moss is a talented athlete who reads receivers hands/eyes to react without hesitation and challenge the catch point (one of three players in Iowa history with at least three pick sixes). Though he has natural cover instincts, he will lose his leverage at times versus sophisticated route runners, and NFL size will give him trouble on the perimeter. Overall, Moss needs to tighten up his footwork for smoother transitions, but he is a speedy and springy athlete who takes it personally when a completion is made on his watch. Some NFL scouts grade him as a safety, others as a true zone corner.
So, why did the Broncos trade up to select Riley Moss? The Broncos came away impressed with him and he adds some depth at a position that was severely lacking it. Head Coach Sean Payton was asked about the Moss selection after day two of the draft and told reporters that they spent a ton of time evaluating him and came away impressed. He
I don’t know how much film we watched, but we picked and tugged and hosed down and looked at every tape. He was in [for a Top-30 visit]. All the numbers, prototype—we loved the make-up. We spent as much time on this player because this was one of these players that we felt like in the very beginning was going to be one of these decisions.
Moss does have good size, speed, agility, and ball skills that you look for in a defensive back and his character and make-up will fit what they want in their locker room. On top of that, general manager Geroge Paton told reporters that Moss “aced” the evaluation process.
“We had him in here on a visit. We loved the makeup. He aced the offseason, the Senior Bowl and the combine, and then we brought him in on a visit. The coaches met with him. They Zoomed, and we spent a lot a lot of time with this player. We feel really good about the trade.”
So, while Moss checked all the boxes for the coaches and decision-makers, he also provides some much-needed depth at cornerback. Yes, he will be a cornerback according to Sean Payton. He told reporters: “Obviously with the last player, (DB Riley Moss), there was a clear vision for him and its corner.” so the talk of him moving to safety can end for now.
He will compete with second-year corner Damarri Mathis and the other Broncos corners behind star cornerback Patrick Surtain II for snaps on defense. He will also contribute to special teams as well, which is a unit they put an emphasis on improving under Payton.
With Sean Payton stating “We see our schemes very similar to a year ago” when talking about the Broncos’ defense, Riley Moss makes more sense to me. He is best suited for a zone defense, and historically, Vance Joseph runs a man-heavy scheme, but if things are not changing that much, he’s an excellent fit for that role. I like the pick and I am glad they addressed the cornerback depth in the draft.