(Editor's Note: With less than one month until the start of the 2017 NFL Draft on April 27, the staff of DallasCowboys.com intends to preview the landscape of possible Cowboys draft picks – from the first round to the last. Today's featured player is UCLA's Fabian Moreau.)
Name: Fabian Moreau
Honors:Returning to the Bruins as a redshirt senior in 2016, Moreau made All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention. He was second-team all-conference as a junior in 2014 before an injury limited him to three games in 2015, allowing him to redshirt.
Key Stat: In 2016, Moreau produced a career-best two interceptions and a team-high 10 pass breakups for a Bruins defense that allowed only 12 touchdown passes all season, a conference low.
Where He's Projected: Great question. Moreau is viewed as one of the draft's top cornerbacks in a deep class, but he could slide past the first round after tearing his pectoral muscle while performing a bench press at his March Pro Day. He underwent successful surgery with a reported 4-6-month recovery time that could affect his availability for the start of the 2017 NFL season.
How He Helps The Cowboys: Cornerback depth is widely considered one of the team's major draft needs. They signed veteran Nolan Carroll replace departed free agents Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne, but the draft could offer more help somewhere in the first few rounds. Moreau, when healthy, projects as a NFL starter, but his injury could hinder his rookie impact. Speaking in general terms in March, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said the team might be unable to spend a high draft pick on an injured player given the need for immediate impact on defense.[embeddedad0]
Scout's Take: Hard guy to run away from. Outstanding playing speed and quickness. Can accelerate in a hurry. Has catch up speed/recovery. Plays with an extended burst, especially when he has to carry a receiver across the field. Hips and change of direction are good. Doesn't play with any stiffness or tightness. Good body control and balance. Stays in position during the route. Shows lower body flex and bend. Quick to turn and go. Matches up very well with size and speed. Rare to see him out of position. Key/diagnose to make plays on the ball. Nice zone discipline. Will read the quarterback then react. Very good football intelligence. Will step up to tackle. Will throw his shoulder into ball carrier but doesn't always wrap up. Playmaker. Will highpoint ball. Knows how to play the ball with his off hand. Draft status will be affected by his medical condition with the repaired pectoral muscle from the spring. It remains to be seen if he could miss regular season games while he recovers.
- Bryan Broaddus