Vision: Not an overly creative runner, but understands his keys and will not put your offensive scripts in jeopardy by losing yardage with foolhardy decisions. Shows the ability to feels backside defenders and attack over-pursuing fill defenders with sweet feet and elite contact balance. Has nice subtlety with his hips/shoulders to help generate angles for his blockers. Is too rigid in his adherence to the blocking designs on the chalkboard and will fail to anticipate first-level defenders working back across face and attacking his chosen gap.
Burst: Fine, but nothing to write home about. Most impressive is his ability to maintain and even generate velocity through angles, given his loose hips and ankles to run at austere angles to the ground. Will accelerate into contact to generate power from velocity. Is caught from behind around the ankles at times outside of the tackle box because of his lack of an immediate pickup.
Change of Direction: Wicked loose for a big man. Can drop his hips hard and snap his way into a different angle seemingly at will, with an eye-popping amount of body control for a player with such a boxy frame. Has nice reflexes and really active, quick feet to immediately redirect when defenders pops into gaps. Does have to generate runaway speed when working to outflank opponents and accordingly has a bad gear down when looking to fully change his course -- at best with smaller, more fluid redirections than true cutbacks.
Power: Brings the boomstick. Sees red when a defensive back or linebacker stops his feet in the hole and looks to punish. Has good natural leverage and good flexibility to get his shoulder even lower than an opponent who's trying to cut him at the knees. Tremendous hitting power allows for broken tackles in tight spaces, as well as pile-driving ability in short yardage situations.
Second-Level Speed: Simply not a fast dude. Not prohibitively slow for NFL play -- can get to the outside on second-level defenders occasionally, with a good ability to carry velocity through angles and enough contact balance to survive a glancing blow on the sideline -- but he's often chased down from behind in the open field.
Contact Balance: Like trying to knock over a weeble-wobble. Mass rides low and he runs with a wide base. Flexibility in his ankles and hips allows for him to catch his body at absurd angles to the ground and still retain his balance and quickly turn upfield. Has a bowling ball approach to tight spaces and an active off-hand to stun the initial brunt of incoming contact. Able to generate scramble drill plays with shocking survival ability in between the tackles.
Decision-Making: A by-the-book player who generally gets what he's blocked. Unwillingness to work backside can be prohibitive to explosive play generation, and is disappointing given that he has more than enough power and elusiveness to beat EMLOS one-on-one on the backside cuts of inside zone or read concepts and work into open space. Will see first-level defenders separate into his gap but elect to steamroll ahead regardless in an effort to win with strength, which is a losing battle.
Pass Catching: Softer mitts and longer arms than we've come to expect from our 5-foot-10, 220 pound dudes. Adjusts really nicely to inaccurate footballs while on the run or forced to elevate and quickly transitions into a runner. Wins against linebackers and defensive backs in space to make the first guy miss and quickly get upfield. Is a great candidate for screens and checkdowns, with a modest outlook as a route runner.
Pass Protection: Has the physical tools and the mental awareness -- just wasn't asked to do it much in his final seasons at Utah. Flashes of stunner ability with a strong anchor and great power throughout his frame. Active hands and balance/toughness are reflected from tape as a runner. Occasionally misses rushers but nothing that shouldn't be able to be coached away.
Round Grade: Incomplete
Best Trait: Contact Balance
Worst Trait: Second-Level Speed
Pro Comparison: Kareem Hunt
Summary: Zack Moss is a Day 2 candidate with a profile that will lead to immediate, consistent production in the NFL -- if he remains healthy. Moss has an elite trait in regards to his contact balance, and near-elite change of direction abilities and power. Accordingly, Moss is one of the best tackle-breakers in the class, and is an extremely reliable back in short-yardage and goal line situations. He has a very high floor. With a great pass-catching profile for a big back, Moss is also a quality space player on screens and swings, and is a nightmare for defensive backs to handle if he's able to get into the second level. With only average explosiveness and long speed, however, Moss is much more so a grinder than an explosive threat, which caps his ceiling in an NFL era predicated on explosive plays. Moss can serve as the primary back in a committee who receives a lion's share of the touches, but he must be spelled by a speed back, and significant concerns about his ability to remain healthy may shorten what could otherwise be a productive career.