- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 28, 2007

As NFL teams make selections throughout the day, Dre Moore will continue a countdown of his own to make certain he’s part of the draft discussion at this time next year.

The defensive tackle and his teammates will participate in Maryland’s spring game this afternoon at Byrd Stadium, a typically vanilla event that still provides a glimpse at some of the talent in the Terrapins’ program.

So while it is highly unlikely Josh Portis or Chris Turner can wrest the starting quarterback job away from Jordan Steffy today, it is still a chance for players to punctuate five weeks of drills with a fine performance in a public setting.

That would work nicely for Moore, who briefly considered the possibility of leaving after last season. He submitted his name to an NFL advisory panel for an evaluation before opting to remain in school to build upon a junior season of 71/2 tackles for loss and 31/2 sacks.

“It’s very encouraging and very motivating that I already have my name out there. I already have some attention. I just have to go out and do my part now,” Moore said. “I’m definitely going to use it to show people I’ve been working hard this offseason and show people I’m here to make some noise in my senior year.”

Moore said his feedback was entirely positive, and there is little doubt his surplus of athleticism will help him next season and in the future. He was told to simply stand out more and make more plays on tape, a recipe for any player to bolster their long-term stock.

He hasn’t had any games since then, but has done enough the last few months to show his commitment. Moore dropped five pounds from his 6-foot-4 frame (down to 306 pounds), and boosted his squat to 680 pounds.

“I think he was a fourth- or fifth-round pick [with the advisory board], but I think he has the potential to be a very, very high pick,” coach Ralph Friedgen said. “I think he sees that.”

Moore also enjoyed a solid spring, serving as a frequent nuisance both to an offensive line forced to patch together combinations because of injuries and a posse of inexperienced passers. Every now and then, he’ll playfully tweak Friedgen by grabbing a quarterback wearing a noncontact jersey just to see how long it will take for the coach to blow a whistle.

But if he can do far more damage to opponents next fall, he will likely be rewarded next April. Defensive linemen account for more first- and second-round picks over the last four years than any unit other than the secondary, and the line totals don’t include outside linebackers who are essentially used as pass-rushing ends in the pros.

“If a guy has a great senior year, he can really up his stock even though maybe his junior year was just average because there aren’t enough great defensive linemen to go around,” Maryland defensive line coach Dave Sollazzo said.

Moore has turned himself into a solid prospect despite little high school experience. He frequently was at odds with Friedgen once he arrived at Maryland and found himself on the wrong end of an extended lecture several times.

Now he jokes around with Friedgen as much as anyone on the roster and is on track to graduate in December.

“He’s one of the guys I’m really proud about because he came in here and didn’t have a very good work ethic,” Friedgen said. “He only played one year of football, and he’s really matured as an individual, from an academic standpoint, from a behavior standpoint and from a football standpoint. I would love to see him to go out and have a dominating year.”

Today could provide a springboard into the summer for Moore, whose countdown to draft day next year would only be helped if he can emerge as one of the ACC’s top interior linemen next fall.

“I definitely feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be in my career,” Moore said. “I kind of started off slow but I’m happy. I feel like I’ve done everything right up to this point.”

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