Mock Pick Meets The Mock Media

We had a mock draft Sunday, but no press conference. Well, Rahim Moore took the time to answer all of our questions, and he sounded a lot like Carnell Lake.

I received a note the other day from a friend who wondered why – since the Steelers drafted Rahim Moore of UCLA in the first round of my mini-mock draft – I haven't filed a report from the Steelers' press conference?

OK. I'll play along.

Mike Tomlin introduced his first-round pick to the media yesterday, but he danced around the question of whether he'll move Rahim Moore from free safety to cornerback.

The Steelers' coach at first denied he'd be moving the 6-0, 202-pound 21-year-old, but opened the door later by saying "it's a possibility down the road."

"Down the road" of course could mean training camp, which would put Moore on the fast track to become the next Carnell Lake.

Kind of.

The Steelers selected Lake, a 6-1, 208-pound linebacker out of UCLA, with the 34th pick of the 1989 draft. He started 15 games at strong safety as a rookie with the Steelers.

Because of a combination of need and Lake's athletic ability, he was moved to cornerback in 1995 to replace Rod Woodson, and again in 1997 to replace Chad Scott. Lake made the Pro Bowl after both of those seasons and was the team's starting left cornerback to open the 1998 season. He played the entire year on an injured foot and then left in free agency.

Lake retired after the 2001 season but returned to the game in 2009 as the UCLA cornerbacks coach. That's when he met Moore, who intercepted 10 passes in 2009.

"I was telling the DB coach from the Saints how much (Lake) helped me, changing me from a boy to a man and also showing me the way to watch film," Moore told reporters Sunday from the combine podium.

"He told me, ‘Rahim, don't just watch film or take a few notes. Kind of visualize yourself in that position, making this play or making this tackle or taking on this block.' When I'm watching film sometimes, I'd be in my living room and actually going through the steps of making plays. And I'd end up making those kinds of plays on Saturday."

And then in February of 2010, Lake left UCLA for "family reasons." That season, Moore had only one interception.

"A lot of teams stayed away from me," he explained. "We lost a lot of guys up front. We had a lot of youth on our defense. Every year you're not going to have your best stats. But I think this year I showed more. I can come downhill, tackle, and make other plays. Interceptions are not everything."

That comment could've come directly from the coaching lips of Lake, who intercepted 16 passes in his pro career, and also had 25 sacks, 17 fumble recoveries and 5 defensive touchdowns. And he played Pro Bowl-caliber cornerback for a Super Bowl team.

Can Moore play cornerback?

"I have a little experience," he said Sunday. "Sometimes you would come to my practices and think I'm a corner, because you might see me pressing up or making plays out there.

"My background is corner. My senior year in high school I played corner because safety was getting too boring. I've been blessed with some corner skills. A lot of teams have been asking if I'd mind changing my position. Whatever a team needs – strong safety, free safety, corner. When you play secondary and love football you should be able to play all three positions."

Moore was surprised that the Steelers drafted him in the first round of SteelCityInsder's mock draft. After all, he said on Sunday that he'd not been contacted by the team. But that was Lake's story back in 1989. He ran a 4.42 40 at the combine and was surprised the Steelers took him since the two sides hadn't met formally.

But if Moore runs such a time today, it's possible the same team that took him in a mock draft in late February will be doing so in real life in late April. Formal meeting or not.


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