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Opinion: Zack Moss gives the Buffalo Bills a punishing runner

Good luck tackling him in the fourth quarter.

Head coach Sean McDermott’s Buffalo Bills have always counted on a physical pile-pushing running back—players like Mike Tolbert and Frank Gore. They grabbed the new model in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft, with Utah’s Zack Moss. Moss was incredibly productive in his college career, fighting for every yard on the field, and he’ll bring that violent energy to the Bills as the downhill rumble alongside Devin Singletary’s shake-and-bake.

Moss was at the center of Utah’s offense, rushing 628 times for 3,685 yards and 36 rushing touchdowns over the past three years, a clip of 5.87 yards per carry. Standing 5’9” and 226 lbs, Moss possesses a power-packed frame. He uses that body as a battering ram on the field, shrugging off arm tackles and falling forward for extra yards at every opportunity. Moss is impressively flexible, has great contact balance, and drops his pads ahead of contact. He’s patient and uses short steps to set up blocks at the line of scrimmage.

Moss’s punishing style is the type of running that’ll wear down defenses over the course of a game. By the fourth quarter, no one will want to tackle him. He’s not just a runner, either. Utah asked him to catch passes out of the backfield, and also trusted him to pass protect against down linemen.

The positive traits definitely bring to mind players like Gore and Travis Henry, but the question is if his body is fully healthy. Injuries have been a consistent battle for Moss throughout college. He had a toe injury in 2016, tore his meniscus in 2018, and sprained his AC joint in 2019. He also didn’t stand out as a special athlete among the others in this class. His 4.65 forty-yard dash, 33” vertical, and 4.37 short shuttle were all below average for a running back.

Moss is a perfect fit for the style of running back the Bills wanted, and talented enough to shoulder a starter’s burden should the situation require it. If his injuries are behind him, we could be talking about him as a steal down the road. This pick makes the Bills two-for-two on picking young, NFL-ready players who fit among the few remaining needs within their roster depth.