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Saints 2016 Year in Review: Sterling Moore

Stepping in and stepping up, Moore than expected from Sterling!

NFL: Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints
Party in the Dome!
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

New man up! In 2016, the New Orleans Saints defensive back group lived and (often) died by this mantra. As previously stated in Ken Crawley’s year in review, the injury bug bit the Saints early and continued to hang around all season. Because of this, the team was forced to scrape the free agent shelf and pick up Sterling Moore and B.W. Webb to field a serviceable secondary. At least that was the plan.

Instead, the Saints found a versatile cornerback in Moore, who had the ability to defend outside or in the slot. We are not talking about Richard Sherman or 2016 Janoris Jenkins type performance, but definitely Keenan Lewis 2013 level play is a fair comparison.

Moore was signed to the Saints roster on Sept. 6th, 2016 after the team released veteran CB Cortland Finnegan. After entering the league as an undrafted free agent in 2011 with the Oakland Raiders, he was released that season and quickly signed with the New England Patriots from 2011 through 2012. While on the Patroits practice squad, he was plucked by the Dallas Cowboys where he remained through 2014.

Moore moved on to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the 2015 offseason, but would not be re-signed heading into 2016. Moore would sign with the Buffalo Bills in April of 2016, but was then released in September, opening the door for him to sign with New Orleans.

Moore would not be active in Week 1 for the Saints, but due to an injury to Delvin Breaux, he would make his team debut in Week 2 at the New York Giants. Moore would appear in 13 games while achieving career highs in total, solo, and assisted tackles with a final tally of: 56 total, 44 solo, and 12 assisted. He also tied his career season total in interceptions and passes defended by finishing with 2 INTs (the most since his rookie season) and 13 PDs (matching his 2013 season).

Moore proved his value and his worth while being assigned to opponent’s No. 1 receiving threat often and moving into the slot cornerback role when he was needed. One exceptional play for Moore was an interception in the back of the end-zone where he displayed great body control with a ‘sick’ catch! Moore is not a lock to make the roster because his game is flawed, he teeters between playing too safe or too risky. Another variable in his future is his grasp of the coverages the team will be running and his ability to stand out in a crowd of much younger players. His two INTs and versatility will make him a legitimate candidate to return to the Saints in 2017, especially if he can stay healthy. Training camp will be an interesting time in New Orleans!