The 2018 NFL Draft had few receivers separate themselves as top prospects during the 2017 season. But while that might make it more difficult for teams to establish their draft boards, it does create opportunity for prospects to raise their profile during the draft process.
Maryland’s D.J. Moore is one such player, who was known to scouts but not the population in general, and is taking his opportunity to generate a buzz.
Moore was the Terrapins’ primary offensive threat, playing all across their offensive formation and producing despite issues at the quarterback position, but he truly started to gain momentum after the season and during the draft process.
The New York Giants struggled to produce in the passing game after their receiving corps was wiped out by injury last year, and new head coach Pat Shurmur’s offensive scheme could benefit a player like Moore, but should the Giants be interested?
*Note: There seems to be an error in the spider chart. Moore’s hands measured 9 ⅝ inches, not 9.
- Thick, strong receiver. Able to work though arm tackles and pick up yards after contact.
- Solid and subtle route runner.
- Quick with a powerful lower body. Able to get separation on come-back routes and high-point the ball better than his frame would suggest.
- Natural “hands” catcher, able to snatch the ball out of the air.
- Uses body language to affect defenders and gain separation.
- Good body control to make spectacular catches.
- Plays outside and in the slot.
- Has returned punts and kicks, offering special teams upside.
- Much of his production came from screens and quick passes.
- Struggled to separate on deep routes.
- Occasionally rounds out breaks.
- Hampered by poor quarterback play. Often lead out of bounds by passes.
What they’re saying
COMPARES TO: Golden Tate, Lions - Like Tate (a former prep running back), Moore possesses a squatty, powerful frame which makes him a tough draw for the wiry cornerbacks typically tasked with covering him. At this point, Moore is not as polished a route-runner and hands-catcher as Tate but is an intriguing athlete with the work ethic to develop in this regard.
IN OUR VIEW: Moore offers an intriguing skill-set, especially in today’s era of unique matchups. His stout frame, agility, physicality and vision project nicely as a slot receiver, returner and even occasional running back, though to be at his best, Moore should be drafted as a complementary target rather than as the No. 1 option he played at Maryland.
-Rob Rang (NFLDraftScout.com)
Maryland’s D.J. Moore was a bit of an under-the-radar player for much of the year. Maryland didn’t have a great team and an early injury lead to inconsistent at best quarterback play. However, Moore himself was one of the team’s bright spots. And as the draft process has worn on, he has seen his profile raised.
Moore was productive in 2017 despite the poor QB play, racking up 80 catches for 1,033 yards and 8 touchdowns. Much of that, however came on screen passes and other run after the catch opportunities. But while those don’t show him separating from tight coverage down the field, it does show that he can produce with the ball in his hands, break tackles, and make defenders miss.
Looking more closely, Moore does use a variety of tricks to open windows and gain separation with his route running. For instance, he varies his stride length, uses shoulder and hip fakes to freeze them before making his break.
Given the relatively flat talent curve in the 2018 draft, Moore will likely be selected on the second day of the draft, and perhaps even in the first round after his solid combine performance. Though the Giants could use a versatile receiver who can make plays with the ball in his hands, he will likely be too highly regarded to be an option for them.