Kashif Moore is a small young man with big NFL dreams. And why not? When the 5-foot-9, 180-pound wide receiver from the University of Connecticut looks around he finds plenty of inspiration, much of it from athletes experiencing success right here in New York.
"It's kinda like the year of the underdog this year," Moore said. "Victor Cruz, guys like Jeremy Lin as well that came out of nowhere."
Moore saw what Cruz, an undrafted free-agent from UMass, did with the Giants this season. Cruz set a franchise record most receiving yards in a season (1,536) while catching 82 passes.
"That's one guy that was in a similar situation as me," said Moore. "Not a real big-name guy, but he worked his tail off to get where he's at. He had a breakout year this year ... a guy that I really look up to and watch a lot as well."
Another inspiration for Moore is New England wide receiver Wes Welker, a 5-9, 185-pound player who came into the league as an undrafted free agent and has made four Pro Bowls and been named All-Pro twice. Moore called Welker "a guy I really look up to. You see the way that he works out of the slot, all those iside routes that he runs and the great moves, how quick he is in and out of his breaks."
Does Moore have the right skills and work ethic to be the next Welker or Cruz? Only time will tell. He had a good, but unspectacular career at UConn, which did not exactly feature a high-powered passing attack. In four seasons with the Huskies he caught 126 passes, including 41 in 2011. He averaged 14.7 yards per catch in 2011, with five touchdowns.
He ran an impressive 4.41 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine and his vertical jump of 43.5 inches was the best at this year's Combine.
"I felt like I did a very good job at the combine ... opened up a lot of eyes," said Moore. "I went in there on a mission and felt like I accomplished it. One thing I went there to do was just do everything to the best of my abilities and not get on that plane and have any regrets. I felt like I definitely did that."
NFL.com had this to say about Moore in its scouting report:
"Moore is a fast, undersized receiver out of Connecticut who teams will want to take a late shot on in the draft simply to see if he can channel his inner-Johnny Knox and become more than a combine-speed guy. Moore has good quickness off the line of scrimmage and is good to secure the ball when running deep. Although he has great speed, he uses it more effectively running quick, intermediate routes than he does running deep to extend the field. He has late-round value due to his speed if teams can look past his size."
Kashif Moore Profile
Height - 5-foot-9
Weight - 180
40-yard dash - 4.41
20-yard short shuttle - 4.05
3-cone drill - 6.82
Vertical jump - 43.5 inches (BEST IN NFL COMBINE - 2012)
Broad jump - 10-feet-6 inches
Bench press (225) - 19
60-yard shuttle - DNP
Hand - 9 & 5/8 Arm - 31 inches