It was not long ago when Dontay Moch was an incredibly intriguing linebacker prospect.
A third-round pick out of Nevada by the Cincinnati Bengals, he entered the NFL as a player many believed would develop into a very useful linebacker.
Said his NFL.com Draft profile, “Moch brings speed, athleticism and explosiveness to the Bengals’ lineup. Although he has limited experience playing from an upright position, he is a dynamic pass rusher with the skills to be effective as a situational rusher. He gives them a versatile option to incorporate in their exotic schemes on passing downs.”
Things have not exactly gone according to plan.
Moch was part of the Bengals’ final round of cuts in August, making the former Chandler Hamilton High School star a free agent. He was signed to the Cardinals’ practice squad on September 2, and was promoted to the active roster September 23 due to injuries.
“It’s a business out here, it’s tough, and at the same time you have to understand it and come ready and be prepared,” Moch said Wednesday. “I’ve got the opportunity to come home to my hometown and do something that I was blessed to do with my life, and I’ve just got to go out there and prove it now.”
Moch has appeared in just one NFL game — last season — and failed to record any stats. Injuries as well as well as a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances have slowed Moch’s progress, and he admitted to feeling some frustration with how his career has gone and how long it has taken to get a chance. However, he said it all serves as motivation to step up now that he’s getting a chance.
Of course, he will be on the field Sunday when the Cardinals take on the Tampa Buccaneers because of a rash of injuries suffered by the Cards at the outside linebacker position, as Lorenzo Alexander, Sam Acho and Alex Okafor have all been lost for the season.
Moch knows it’s a tough blow to his new team, but also feels like this is now a chance for the Cardinals to unearth some new contributors, too.
And though he’s only been with the team a few weeks, Moch thinks he’s ready to step in and help.
“I have been, since I’ve been out here, just staying in the playbook and so far, so good,” he said. “And I’m just going to go out there and make no errors.”
How much the Cardinals will rely on Moch remains to be seen, but he expects to be used for his pass rushing abilities.
Head coach Bruce Arians said Moch brings speed along with long arms, and noted Bengals coach Marvin Lewis told him he was disappointed to see the linebacker leave.
“I’m anxious to see him play,” Arians said. “In practice he’s been tough to block, and he’s earned this right.”
Moch recorded 28.5 sacks at the collegiate level, but has yet to take down an NFL QB in anything but a preseason game. Given an opportunity, though, the 25-year-old expects that to change. Because along with speed and power, the third-year pro said his character will help him make plays.
“I’m a predator out there, I’m not prey, that’s for sure,” he said.
The Arizona Cardinals Broadcast Department contributed to this report