D.J. Moore Holds A Draft Key

May 1st, 2014
Lovie was so dialed in to the nickel back position in Chicago, he coached the position himself in 2008.

Lovie was so dialed in to the nickel back position in Chicago, he coached the position himself in 2008.

Joe has put in way too much research into the eight-year Lovie Smith regime in Chicago.

As a Bucs fan, Joe can say a lot of Lovie’s time in Chicago is incredibly encouraging, some is downright frightening, and the rest offers great insight into Lovie.

One of many telling Lovie facts is that as Bears head coach in 2008, Lovie personally took on the coaching of nickel cornerbacks himself. That’s pretty darn rare, and it’s evidence of how seriously he takes the position and how critical it is in his defense.

Many fans peg Lovie as a linebackers guy because that’s what he coached with the Bucs under Tony Dungy. But Lovie has roots in the secondary, including coaching defensive backs at the University of Tennessee and Ohio State before heading to the NFL.

So it doesn’t surprise Joe that the two former Lovie Smith Bears on the Bucs defense are both in the secondary, safety Major Wright and cornerback D.J. Moore.

Moore, 27, a 2009 fourth-round pick, thrived in Chicago. He left after the 2012 season following Lovie’s ousting. Moore was signed quickly in free agency by Carolina last year, but he was cut in midseason after a knee injury.

Lovie pounced on Moore after the 2014 Super Bowl, and Moore told Joe it was a no-brainer for him to join the Buccaneers.

“It’s so rare for a coach to have complete trust in a player and for a player to have that same trust in the head coach. Lovie and I have that. I don’t take that for granted, and I wasn’t going to wait for more offers,” Moore said. “I’m confident I can win the nickel back job here.”

“He’s a playmaker.”

“He has great instincts for the position.”

“He’s a student of the game.”

“Every (shortcoming) we’ve identified with D.J., he has taken care of.” 

Those are all quotes from Lovie about Moore to the Chicago Tribune.

Cornering the draft

Joe brings up Moore now because he’s a great example of how last week’s Bucs minicamp could affect the Bucs’ 2014 draft.

Did Lovie see all the traits in Moore that Lovie rewarded in Chicago? If so, then Joe must think Moore is viewed now as a strong starting nickel back. Joe uses the term “starting” because Lovie told Joe he views the position as a starter, given how often opponents line up in three-receiver sets.

How Lovie feels right now about Moore — good or bad — in addition to Johnathan Banks and Mike Jenkins, two corners Lovie and his staff got to evaluate on grass for the first time last week, likely will affect where/if/when the Bucs address the cornerback position the next week’s draft.

Where the Bucs stand on the position a huge unknown. And Joe is confident Lovie won’t leave the Bucs thin at the position like former Bucs general manager Mark Dominik did routinely.

As Joe laid out in these practice notes, cornerbacks got an awful lot of intense teaching last week. Lovie had to assess whether the Bucs’ crop of corners can fit his scheme.

15 Responses to “D.J. Moore Holds A Draft Key”

  1. Bear the Bucs Says:

    Why not bring Kick returner Hester in? See if he’s got anything left in the tank.

    He’s on the Falcons. –Joe

  2. Jon Says:

    Joe. Good stuff. How did Lovie do in the drafts while head coach in Chicago? That would be a good breakdown to read! Thanks

  3. Solinor Says:

    I think our corner situation is pretty set with Banks, Jenkins, Verner, and Moore. It’s funny we never had depth at the position with Dominick as GM.

  4. Jonny 2.3 Says:

    I very much hope these lesser known players become solid contributors to us unlike the trash we had in secondary during Schiano and Raheem eras.

  5. delson Says:

    Our top 4 guys at cb are ballhawks or have been known to have above average hands. Cant wait for the draft

  6. pablo Says:

    What we need to to is trade back into the 18-21 range and select Darqueze Dennard … the only proven corner we have on the roster is Verner. Banks has potential to breakout this season, but we all know where potential has gotten us. Plus even when we had Revis last season we were begging for another corner. I actually think Dennard is a better overall corner than Gilbert(minus special team kr/pr) . So if we are able to get the best corner and a couple extra picks this year I’d be ecstatic! .

  7. David Says:

    Pablo, this scheme fits Banks’ skill set much bettrt than a bump and run scheme because a) he’s speed challenged and b) he’s physical. So I’m excited to see banks in this defense. I think our team will be deeper, better. But it might not necessarily translate into wins all the time.

  8. Bill Says:

    I couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t picked up off the street last season. Moore and Jenkins are upgrades on Johnson (of course, with Banks improving from year one). With all three, plus Felder (Frazier connection) and the practice-squad types, anything above Round 7 isnt’ required. But who knows if a corner they like will fall?

  9. Aaron Says:

    I could see the Bucs picking up Jimmie Ward from N. Illinois. Don’t see the bucs keeping Dashon Goldson after his guaranteed money is gone next year.

  10. ColoradoBuc Says:

    Did someone forget Johnson? Lovie had him going nickel with the first team.

  11. teacherman777 Says:

    Missouri has an awesome CB.

    Perfect tampa two CB.

    Whats his name joe?

  12. theoretical Says:

    Missouri corner => EJ Gaines. I like EJ but he’s been busted up and hasn’t had a chance to show off in the pre-draft activities. I’m not entirely sure that just because he’s a little smaller that he fits best at nickel. I think he goes 4th round which makes it hard for us. Lots of depth at corner in the draft but this team has a lot of guys (Melvin, Jenkins, Johnson, Gorrer, Carr, even a guy like Marc Anthony may work as he has great short area quickness) who already provide depth so unless they pick someone in the first 3 rounds I doubt we’ll see a CB taken. Now Safety is another matter. I’m not sure how this coaching staff can be happy about the depth at safety. I expect a one to be taken somewhere 5th-7th.

  13. JBuc Says:


    Any chance Goldson could be trade bait during the draft? I know he carries a big cap number and his value may be low after last year but after picking up Major Wright and Tandy which are both true free safety’s could this be an option?

  14. Joe Says:

    Any chance Goldson could be trade bait during the draft? I know he carries a big cap number and his value may be low after last year but after picking up Major Wright and Tandy which are both true free safety’s could this be an option?

    Think you just answered your own question. Goldson will be around this season. Next season? That’s a different story.

  15. Scoobs Says:

    Moore is experienced and productive. We are in good shape corner wise. Marc Anthony is from Cal and may be motivated because his old coach is around.