California Corner: Scouting Fabian Moreau (CB, UCLA) as a Fit for the Dolphins
Moreau, a high school RB from Sunrise, FL, didn’t receive any college offers from Florida schools, so he decided to spend his college career on the West Coast at UCLA. Moreau stepped on campus and was quickly recognized for his athleticism, eventually being converted to CB. Moreau is a quick twitch, athletic CB with a thick build and speed; these are qualities coveted by plenty of NFL teams. He’s quickly rising up draft boards thanks to his impressive combine, where he opened the eyes of all the right people leading up to the NFL draft.
Fabian Moreau first jumped out to me personally while watching East/West Shrine practices here in St. Pete, FL. He looked the part (6’0″ and 195 lbs), backing up his impressive eye test with great technique during drills and play-making ability in scrimmages. It was easy to see that Moreau’s practice speed translates well into game speed. He has fluid hips that allow him to open up with WR’s down the field, as well as the speed to stay with receivers both down the field and across the middle.
In this clip below, Moreau shows great mirroring through some traffic in the middle of the field. He recognizes the drag route instantly and sticks to the WR’s back pocket throughout the play and breaks up the pass.
Along with his physical abilities, Moreau also plays intelligent football. He is quick to diagnose run/pass plays, he shows awareness of down and distance, and he displays great route anticipation. In the play below, Moreau sits on the slant, and has the agility to undercut the route, the hands to pick off the pass, and speed to get some yards in return.
Moreau can struggle with quick WR’s at the line of scrimmage, but he has incredible recovery skills to make up for it. His feet are some of the quickest I’ve seen at CB in the last few years. In the red zone play below, Moreau guesses and bites on the outside move, taking a misstep outside off of the line. However, he quickly recovers and breaks up a would be touchdown underneath.
Another positive quality about Moreau’s game that pops out when watching him is his willingness to come up and defend the run. He rarely hesitates to take on blocks or get involved in scrums. He displays great technique when tackling, and he demonstrates awareness by keeping his outside shoulder free and not giving up the edge on running plays. In the play below, Moreau recognizes the run right away, doesn’t hesitate, avoids the blocker, and meets the RB at the LOS.
Moreau is still relatively new to the CB position. He will need some time to adjust to different NFL schemes and route combinations. On double moves and plays down the field, Moreau has a bad habit of getting too ‘handsy’ with WRs and was flagged often for defensive holding. Once Moreau gets more confident and comfortable with his skill set, I expect to see this part of his game improve.
The biggest concern for Moreau stems from his injury history. Recently, Moreau had surgery on a torn pectoral muscle that he suffered during the bench press at his UCLA Pro Day. He also missed a good portion of the Bruins’ 2015 season with a Lisfranc foot injury. It didn’t seem to slow him down in the 2016 season, but teams will be forced to take his injury history into heavy consideration during the NFL Draft.
How He Fits With the Dolphins:
The Dolphins would love to upgrade their slot CB position, and Moreau could very well be the best slot CB in this draft. Bobby McCain hasn’t progressed the way that many thought he would, and the Dolphins could be looking for a guy to come in from day one and upgrade at the spot. With teams playing close to 70% of their snaps in nickel coverage, the slot CB position is becoming a greater need each year.
The Dolphins have two CBs that they like in Xavien Howard and Byron Maxwell on the outside, but Maxwell was a bit inconsistent, and Howard battled injuries for most of the year. With Moreau, the Dolphins would add flexibility, gaining the ability to use the UCLA Bruin as their slot CB from day one, develop him outside, or use him as insurance for Maxwell and Howard.
There are plenty of reasons to love Moreau’s game: His physicality, speed, and aggressiveness are all outstanding on film. However, his versatility is what makes him special. Fabian Moreau could potentially become the best CB from this talented draft class.