By Rich Kurtzman
Rahim Moore, S #26
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
The Broncos are on fire and the defense deserves much of the credit.
While Denver’s riding a Rocky Mountain High of an eight-game win streak, the focus might be on Peyton Manning and the offense, but it’s the defense that’s responsible for winning games. That defense has allowed a mere 77 yards on the ground during the winning streak, forcing 17 turnovers by hitting opposing quarterbacks with a reckless abandon. Much of that success has to be put on the Broncos’ secondary, as they create coverage sacks. It’s a unit led by Champ Bailey, which includes young playmaker Rahim Moore.
Moore grew up in Los Angeles, California, playing both ways in high school as a safety and receiver. He recorded 112 tackles with eight interceptions on defense, and 15 receptions for 339 yards and six touchdowns as a senior in high school. His play was enough to earn him a scholarship at UCLA, where he enjoyed great success. He came in and started all 12 games as a freshman for the Bruins, then led the nation with 10 interceptions as a sophomore and continued to play well as a junior.
Moore caught the eyes of the Broncos and was drafted by them 45th overall in 2011. Although his career started sluggishly—getting less consistent playing time last year—Moore’s given much more this season.
The 22-year old free safety has started all 13 games for the 10-3 Broncos, giving the cornerbacks support over the top and rushing in to make much-needed tackles as well. In fact, he’s fourth on the team in total tackles with 59 on the season. And when Moore brings it, he hits hard, leaving an impression with opposing offensive players. He’s deft at dropping back into coverage as well, and has defended six passes on the season while also intercepting one pass along the way. Moore has studied, from future Hall of Famer Brian Dawkins last year and veteran Mike Adams this season, and it’s shown in him honing his craft, better understanding where he needs to be what he has to do to play at a high level. His best game of the season came in New England against the Patriots, recording 12 total tackles while also stuffing a run for a loss of three yards.
And really, though his game-to-game numbers aren’t as flashy, Moore has been an intricate piece of the Broncos’ defensive puzzle all year long. He’s an athletically gifted safety that possesses the speed to stay ahead of fast wide receivers, the hops to knock down passes and the intensity to run through ball-carriers for big hits. He’s a young member of a mostly aged secondary, one Denver could possibly build around as time moves forward. Certainly, when John Elway and Co. drafted Moore in the second round last year, they found a diamond in the rough as the free safety is quietly doing all the right things in Denver.
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Rich Kurtzman is a Denver native, Colorado State University alumnus, sports nerd, athletics enthusiast, and competition junkie. Currently writing for a multitude of websites while working on books, one on the history of the Denver Broncos and Mile High Stadium. Find more of Rich’s Denver Broncos pieces on Examiner.com.