Dontay Moch Has Uphill Battle At Linebacker Or Defensive End

Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

Dontay Moch has a lot to prove, whether it's at linebacker or defensive end.

The Bengals got a pass rusher with the potential to be great when they selected Dontay Moch out of Nevada in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Many didn't know much about Moch, but we quickly discovered that he has incredible straight-line speed for a linebacker, which could transfer into a great pass rusher at the next level.

Unfortunately, Moch hasn't made it on the field very much in his two years with the Bengals. He has had to deal with injuries as well as a rumored issue with migraines brought on by allergies. Being that he is from Arizona and played college football in Nevada, both dry and hot areas of the country, having issues with allergies in Cincinnati, one of the most allergenic areas in America, isn't a stretch.

What is more unfortunate, though, is the situation that Moch is now in. Because of the signing of James Harrison, and the depth behind him provided by guys like Brandon Joiner and Aaron Maybin, he was moved to defensive end, which is one of the deepest positions on the Bengals roster.

Moch is going to have a hard time convincing coaches that he deserves a spot at defensive end among the likes of Michael Johnson, Carlos Dunlap, Robert Geathers, Wallace Gilberry, all of whom have contributed, and even rookie Margus Hunt. Unless the Bengals see that he has enough value on special teams, Moch could see the door just two seasons after he was drafted.

This is a real shame. If Moch continues to be sidelined with injuries and migraine issues, which really are out of his control, he could be released before any sense of his capabilities at the next level are ever actually realized. It would be tough to see Moch go somewhere else and explode as a pass rusher because of the area of the country he lives in. However, the Bengals can't leave a spot open for a player that shows potential. They have to give roster spots to players that get results. So far, that hasn't been Moch.

This offseason is likely the young defensive end's last chance to make an impact to prove to the Bengals staff that he belongs. With the depth and the production from the other players at defensive end, though, he's going to have an uphill battle to earn a spot on the team. Don't be surprised if we see Moch in a different uniform before we ever really got to see him in Bengals stripes.

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