Dontay Moch transitions to linebacker

One of the most intriguing players among the non-AQs headed into the NFL draft is Dontay Moch from Nevada. Moch was your typical hybrid defensive end/linebacker for the Wolf Pack, but is beginning to make the transition to linebacker to improve his chances of success on the next level.

Moch is practicing at strongside linebacker this week as he prepares for the East-West Shrine Game on Saturday in Orlando. There is no question he has the speed and the talent to make an impact in the NFL. The question is where he fits in to make the maximum impact.

Already, Todd McShay and his Scouts Inc. group had this to say about Moch following practice Tuesday:

"He's doing well with his hand up and playing in space. He's showing good lateral quickness and a very good closing burst. It'll be worth watching him to see if he keeps developing as he converts from DE to OLB."

Moch is happy to play linebacker in the NFL, saying he feels comfortable at the position. Perhaps realizing that is where his talents may be best suited, he said he played about 70 percent of this season at linebacker and 30 percent at defensive end. Either way, Moch had another outstanding season, setting a single-season school record with 22 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. He ended his career as the school and WAC leader in those two categories.

"The outside linebacker position is where I feel comfortable, and that’s where I can contribute the most," Moch said. "I can also contribute as a third-down pass-rush defensive end. Either which way, I’m going to get the job done."

Of course, one of the most tantalizing aspects of Moch is his speed. Last year at junior day, he clocked a 4.08 and 4.18 in the 40-yard dash. Moch said he ran the 40 last month and clocked a 4.19. Even though his seemingly incredible speed has been much publicized, people still scratch their heads when they see the time on their stopwatches.

But Moch, a former high school track champion, says he consistently runs under a 4.2 every time he runs the 40. That is his goal headed into the NFL combine next month.

"I’m used to it because I’ve been running underneath a 4.3 since high school," Moch said. "It’s something I have to keep proving, just being consistent. I want to be that first guy at the combine to shoot under a 4.1 or a 4.2. My goal is to hit an electric 4.2 there or lower. I’m going to try to get the job done."