Skai Moore ends historic career on high note
A man who has never played a down of American football was drafted.
Mississippi State’s long-snapper was drafted.
A former South Carolina player who transferred from USC in order to find more playing time was drafted.
But Skai Moore, the former Gamecocks linebacker who is one of 15 players in the history of Division I football to lead his team in tackles for four seasons and tied South Carolina's career record for interceptions (14), was not selected in the 2018 NFL Draft. On Saturday night, the Sun Sentinel reported that Moore intended to sign a free agent deal with the Indianapolis Colts.
Defensive linemen Taylor Stallworth, Dante Sawyer and Ulric Jones, defensive backs Jamarcus King, D.J. Smith and Chris Lammons and offensive linemen Cory Helms and Alan Knott also went undrafted this year, but none of those omissions was as surprising as Moore’s. He had 353 tackles and 5.5 sacks in a four-year career.
Tight end Hayden Hurst was the only South Carolina product drafted this year. Hurst was taken in the first round, with the 25th-overall pick by the Baltimore Ravens. It’s the first year since 2008 that only one Gamecock was selected in the draft. That year, it was running back Cory Boyd in the seventh round.
This year, the Philadelphia Eagles drafted Jordan Mailata, a 6-foot-8, 346-pound rugby player from Australia who has never played American football, in the seventh round and will try to turn him into an offensive lineman next year. The Green Bay Packers picked Hunter Bradley, Mississippi State’s long-snapper in the seventh round, and former South Carolina running back David Williams, who transferred to Arkansas, was taken in the seventh round by the Denver Broncos.
As productive as Moore was in his collegiate career, his size (6-foot-2, 224 pounds) wasn’t ideal to play linebacker in the NFL, and he ran a 4.73 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. By comparison, Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, who was selected in the first round, is 256 pounds and ran a 4.65 40-yard dash. Moore also missed an entire season because of a neck injury.
Moore and the rest of the Gamecocks' undrafted players are eligible to sign free agent contracts with NFL teams immediately.
▪ Helms signed with the New Orleans Saints, according to his Twitter account.
▪ Lammons signed with the Atlanta Falcons, per the NFL Network.
▪ Stallworth signed with the New Orleans Saints, according to his agent's Twitter account.
▪ Sawyer signed with the Kansas City Chiefs, according to his Twitter account.
▪ King signed with the Oakland Raiders, according to his Twitter account.
▪ Knott signed with the San Francisco 49ers, according to his Twitter account.