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Former Ute Zack Moss heads into first NFL season as highest-graded rookie running back

Utah running back Zack Moss runs for a touchdown in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018.
Utah running back Zack Moss runs for a touchdown in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. Moss is training for his NFL debut with the Buffalo Bills.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Zack Moss didn’t just end up as the University of Utah’s all-time rushing leader last season. He also positioned himself nicely for the NFL by doing just about everything right for the Utes.

As such, Moss heads into the 2020 season as the highest-graded NFL rookie running back, according to Pro Football Focus.

Moss and former Boston College running back A.J. Dillon tied for the top grading honors with scores of 91.3 out of 100 in PFF’s in-depth rating system.

Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor was right behind them at 91.1, while LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire graded fourth-highest at 85.0.

Interestingly, that is the reverse order that the four players were drafted this spring.

Edwards-Helaire was snagged with the final pick of the first round by the Kansas City Chiefs; Taylor went 41st overall to the Indianapolis Colts; Dillon was taken late in the second round by the Green Bay Packers; and Moss was the 22nd selection in the third round by the Buffalo Bills.

Despite grading out tied for first, seven running backs were picked ahead of Moss.

PFF’s grading system doesn’t just scratch the surface with simple stats. It takes a deep dive into what players do on every single play regardless of the result. The detailed approach — that delves into “contribution to production” — is determined by PFF’s analysts who grade every play the player is involved in.

A video of Moss’ 2019 highlights was shared in the Twitter thread by a fan who urged people to educate themselves if they disagree with his ranking and added this message: “He had some injuries, but the guy is a monster. Built like an absolute truck, vision, power/elusiveness, elite pass blocker, etc.”

Also this week, the Bills shared a photo of Moss in his new Buffalo uniform.