Scouting Profile: Wide Receiver D.J. Moore
D.J. Moore, Maryland
Weight: 210 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.42 seconds
Vertical: 39.5 inches
Broad Jump: 11’0″
Watching some wide receivers move up and down the draft board is often a gradual process, but not with Moore. He went from someone who was considered a third- or fourth-round pick, to one who is now getting first-round consideration. His Combine performance was among the most impressive from a measurements standpoint, but Moore is someone you should get to know on the field, too, as he’s among the most versatile wide receivers in the draft.
While playing at Maryland, you’d expect Moore to post big numbers, and he did. He caught at least seven passes in 8-of-12 games in 2017 while hauling in eight touchdowns, though they did use him extremely heavily in the screen game, propping up his overall catch numbers. His season was highlighted by a 12-catch, 210-yard, two-touchdown performance against Northwestern.
Size/Versatility: 4.0 out of 5 stars
He’s a wide receiver who can line up all over the formation, though I’d like to see him lined up in the slot on the next level, for reasons we’ll cover as we go through this profile. But after measuring in at exactly six-feet tall and running a 4.42-second 40-yard dash, teams will likely try to find a way to move him around the field. He’s not afraid to go over the middle of the field, something that is more difficult to find than you’d think. He’s not oversized, but his vertical jump of 39.5 inches and broad jump of 11-feet should allow him to go up in the red zone and make plays. While playing at Maryland, he wasn’t that guy, though.
Route Running/Ability to Separate: 3.0 out of 5 stars
With the way some talk about Moore, you’d think he’d be a route technician who gets open at will, but that’s not really the case. In fact, he often had a cornerback on his back while playing on the perimeter. However, once he was moved into the slot, that’s where you saw him shine. His 4.42 speed out of the slot is dangerous, as he’ll be able to stretch the field against nickel cornerbacks and safeties. His route-running isn’t refined at this time, as he’ll round out his routes, give away his breaks, and sometimes coast along. The best way to describe his route-running is inconsistent. He’s young, so there’s still time to grow in this area.
Speed: 4.0 out of 5 stars
I know what his time in the 40-yard dash says, but Moore doesn’t play as fast as someone like Calvin Ridley. He lacks the burst out of his hard breaks, which is why you often see a defender in the vicinity while he’s making the catch. But once the ball is in Moore’s hands, his speed shows up in a big way. He won’t be caught from behind, which could be a huge benefit from playing out of the slot, as he’ll have a lot more open space to hit the throttle. He may not have multiple gears to his deep game yet, either, as he doesn’t get as much separation even on his go-routes that I’d expect for someone who runs in the 4.4’s.
Hands: 2.5 out of 5 stars
This grade will likely shock some, as Moore makes grabs that look spectacular at times. But at the same time, he doesn’t make some of the easier catches, and that’s likely because he’ll often let the ball come too far into his body. He’s shown the ability to pluck the ball out of the air, but he doesn’t do it consistently enough. It’s another reason I’d like to see him play the slot, as he shouldn’t have a defender draped all over him off the line of scrimmage. He’s also not afraid to go over the middle of the field, something that’s a must for someone who plays a majority of his snaps out of the slot. He’ll impress at times and disappoint in others, leaving him with relatively average hands.
Awareness: 3.5 out of 5 stars
This grade should be somewhat of an incomplete, because it’s often difficult to judge a player who doesn’t have a quarterback. Let’s just say that Moore was often left in a bad position because of his quarterback underthrowing the ball. There were times where I’d see him read zone coverage, attempt to sit down in a cushion, only to have his quarterback to throw the ball three yards to the right. It’s hard to say if there were miscommunications at times, but Moore doesn’t have any glaring holes in his awareness. His ball-tracking is similar to his hands, as he’ll do some things that make you drop your jaw at times, but then you’ll see him misjudge a ball that he should have caught on a different play. The fact that he flashes shows that the ability is there, but he needs to become a more consistent player. His body control is another plus in his awareness.
After the Catch: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Another area of Moore that’s a bit hit-or-miss, as he’s phenomenal in the open-field when given some space, but it didn’t happen often enough. While struggling to gain solid separation, he rarely had room to operate after the catch, and then when he did create separation, his quarterback may not have hit him in stride. He’s built very well, so he hypothetically should be able to break tackles relatively easy. When given space, he does his best work, from both a speed and strength standpoint.
Potential Landing Spot
There are plenty of teams out there who likely believe Moore can play on the perimeter, but I’m not going to project that here. Instead, going to a team like the Bills would make sense considering all of the circumstances surrounding them. After Jordan Matthews failed to mesh, Kelvin Benjamin was forced to have another knee surgery, and now Zay Jones is having some mental issues that may keep him off the field for a long time. Knowing the Bills are trading up in the draft to acquire a quarterback, it’s only natural they get that quarterback some pass catchers. Moore would offer them the versatility they need with all the uncertainties surrounding their current wide receiver corps. If they trade away even more draft picks to move up again in the draft order, the Saints, Bears, Colts, and Cardinals all make sense.
This won’t make much sense to those who are metrics fanatics, but Moore reminds me of Julian Edelman. They’re both built like bulldogs, though Moore is slightly bigger than Edelman, but they’re extremely slippery in the open-field. Moore is faster than Edelman on paper, but with the pads on, they play at roughly the same speed. If Moore finds a team who can move him the way the Patriots have done with Edelman over the years, he’ll be someone to own in fantasy football. If someone drafts him as a perimeter wide receiver, he’ll disappoint early in his career.
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