The NFL is a passing league. Typically, the teams that can move the ball through the air with ease are the teams that play in the Super bowl. If a team has a good offensive line and an elite quarterback is given the time to sit in the pocket and wait for his receivers to get open, and they will eventually get open, no matter how good the secondary is, then it's pretty much game over. There's not much a team can do, except find a player that's so good at getting to the quarterback that the best offensive linemen have a hard time blocking him.
That's why pass rushing experts like Clay Matthews, DeMarcus Ware, Cameron Wake and Terrell Suggs come at such a high demand. Teams climb all over each other for a chance to sign a guy that makes a quarterback nervous. The Cincinnati Bengals used their third-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft on a guy that they feel has the potential to be just that kind of player: Nevada's Dontay Moch.
And of all ESPN analysts, it's James Walker who was singing Moch's praises, saying that it's very possible that the rookie could make a huge impact on the team early in his first year.
Moch brings two things to the front seven of the Bengals' defense that the team definitely needs: Speed and the ability to rush the passer. Moch is strong in both areas and that could land him some early playing time, especially with Rey Maualuga expected to move inside this year. Moch is raw in other areas, but I could see Cincinnati's coaching staff using him early on obvious passing downs. If Moch works hard to learn the other nuances of being an NFL linebacker, such as dropping into pass coverage, he could eventually earn a starting job.
Moch likely won't be a starter in 2011, but his directional speed and his size make him a perfect situational pass rusher. In third-and-long situations, when it's obvious that a team needs to pass, Moch's freakish athletic skills could allow him to play the outside linebacker position opposite of Keith Rivers, where his one and only job would be to seek the quarterback and destroy him. Even if he doesn't get the job done every time, the quarterback will have to be aware of his presence and that distraction could be enough.
The Bengals have worked on their pass rushing ability through the draft for a few years now. They selected Michael Johnson in the 2009 NFL Draft, who, like Moch, has ridiculous speed for his size. They selected both Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap in the 2010 NFL Draft, both of whom played very well throughout the season, especially Dunlap, who broke the rookie sack record.
I would think that the combination of Moch, Johnson, Dunlap and Atkins would be enough to scare a lot of quarterbacks into making stupid mistakes. I know I'd be looking for each of them before every snap. Of course, that's probably the reason I'm not a quarterback and I just write about them.