A Bracketed Perspective: The Versatility Virtuoso

photo credit: TCU

-Ryan Brackenridge

Versatility is defined as “ability to adapt or be adapted to many different functions or activities”. However, if one were to ask what it meant in relation to the 2021 NFL Draft, they would point to Trevon Moehrig. The 21-year-old junior safety prospect hails from Smithson Valley high school in Spring Branch, Texas. He graduated from Smithson Valley in 2018 with a 3-star recruiting rating and stood at 6’2” and 190 pounds (currently at 203 pounds). In high school, he played as a defensive back, wide receiver, running back and returner. This articulates that his versatility skills began at a young age and has only became even more effective as he has grown throughout his collegiate career at Texas Christian University (TCU). Transitioning over to safety as a true freshman, he has just begun to reap the rewards of that move.

photo credit: Smthson Valley HS

Starting 2 games as a true freshman for coach Gary Patterson’s defense is a strong indication of what the coaching staff saw in Moehrig. On top of that, Moehrig played a big role in the special teams unit that year and was named the Horned Frogs’ Special Teams MVP for the season. Most people would attribute the 2019 season as Moehrig’s “breakout” year, which was his first season as a full-time starter. It jumpstarted his accolades collection when he was named 1st team All-Big 12. This is also when a lot of buzz started to circulate about being a Day-1 pick for a future NFL Draft. The hype continued to rise prior to the 2020 season when he was named the top-returning safety by Pro Football Focus and listed as a preseason All-American. Moehrig was able to elevate his game to justify the hype. Not only did he have an outstanding season, but it was his best season to date. Once again, he made the 1st team all Big-12; also, he won the Jim Thorpe award, which is given to the best defensive back in college football. It was TCU’s first ever winner of this award, which put an exclamation point to his great collegiate career.

photo credit: Draft Diamonds

Entering in the 2020 season, the continuity between Ar’Darius Washington and Trevon Moehrig was as solid as we’ve seen from any safety duo in recent years. To pair with the duo on the back end, the senior linebacker Garret Wallow was there as well. While watching the defense, it is apparent that Wallow is a vocal leader amongst the defense. While Moehrig does communicate and does keep things in check on the back end, he is a more stoic and poised leader in contrast to Wallow. Then again, Moehrig’s playstyle has a certain swagger about it. One could definitely posit him as a “lead-by-example” type. Moehrig has even gone on to make comparisons between Jamal Adams and himself in the communication aspect, while not necessarily in playstyle. Moehrig has also mentioned that he loves the brotherhood that football brings. It’s apparent between TCU’s Holy Trinity (Moehrig, Washington, Wallow), that the brotherhood he’s formed has taught him lessons that will be crucial as Moehrig transitions into becoming a leader of men on the gridiron on Sundays.

photo credit: TCU

A crucial part in any team sport is the trust between teammates. To know that each man has a role to fill and the dependency on each other is reliant upon communication. Our perceptions, as spectators, come in limited sample sizes and those sample sizes can be something like interviews. When watching Moehrig speak in interviews, I came away with a perception of a man who is self-aware as they come. A great example is when coach Gary Patterson was involved in controversy surrounding his use of a racial slur, Moehrig (being a leader within the locker room) addressed it straight from his own Twitter. It would be easy to put out a heated, reactionary comment in the day of social media. However, Moehrig let his leadership shine through in that given situation. So, when I write self-aware, I am talking about as a player, a leader, and a man. For example, in an interview he mentions that his optimal weight fluctuates between 200-210 lbs. So that is the optimal shape he maintains his body at (he currently trains at EXOS in Frisco, TX). Coming from a well-respected and well-coached program of Gary Patterson, goes a long way for evaluating talent for the next level. All these factors play a big role into whether an organization wants this person to become a cornerstone of their franchise, which is what a Day-1 pick should be viewed as.

The “versatility” tag has been tainted in the last few years by people like Bill O’Brien, who look players who can do a lot of things sub-par; but doing nothing great by itself. However, that’s not the versatility I’m talking about when it comes to Moehrig. He does do a lot of things… and he does them at a high-level. Need a player to cover a speedy slot WR (ala Tyreek Hill, Will Fuller V) so they don’t get burned down the field? Moehrig can do it. Need someone to disrupt a screen? Moehrig can do it. I could keep giving various examples to emphasize my point even more, but I believe the gist of it has been made. If he can do it all, then Moehrig is a perfect player right? No. That would be disingenuous for me to portray that and unfair to do so as well. There are times that the tackling has left some to be desired. Therefore, him being someone so self-aware is critical. If others and I can see it, I can guarantee that he sees it as well and is working on it. More times than not, he makes the tackle. However, there are those few cases in which he does not. I am keen to see how he addresses this area moving forward.

photo credit: Dallas Morning News

My purpose in this article wasn’t specifically focusing on just the football player because that would ultimately be limiting to what a team will get in this Draft. When I label him a “versatile virtuoso”, it is meant as a person overall and what he brings to the table. Moehrig is my favorite safety prospect since Derwin James and my favorite TCU defensive prospect since Jason Verrett. When we witness him playing on Sundays, it will be fun and exciting to watch this man fulfill his childhood dreams that he’s talked about.

photo credit: Cincy Jungle

In closing, there are a few teams that I would love to see him play for. The first team I am going to mention is his favorite childhood team and would also fill a need, the Dallas Cowboys. It would be a great fit and I think Jerry Jones could pull the trigger. He played college ball in the Dallas/Fort-Worth area, is a Texan and has swagger about him. The second team is the team I hear him linked to the most, which is the Las Vegas Raiders. I love the fit, I cannot emphasize that enough. It is easily their biggest need and Gruden would be a great mind for Moehrig to learn from. The last team I have, ironically enough, reunites him with black and purple with the Baltimore Ravens. This would be an amazing fit. The Ravens always have successful EDGE rushers and always produce great defenses. Adding a talent like Moehrig on the back end, would be their best safety since Ed Reed. Also, with the recent trade between the Chiefs and Ravens, it’s looking very likely that they can land Moehrig should he fall past the Raiders.

photo credit: CBS

Either way, I’m going to snag a Moehrig jersey wherever he lands. It would be great to see him still rock the #7 on Sundays. Where would you like to see Moehrig land? Is he your top safety prospect? What qualities do you look for in a player beyond the Xs and Os?

feature photo: Daily Advent