Just how good is Rondale Moore, another prominent 2021 NFL Draft prospect to opt out of the college football season? The 5-foot-9, 180-pound receiver caught 112 passes for 1,258 yards with 11 touchdowns as a true freshman (!) in 2018. He was a four-star recruit in the 2018 class per 247 Sports, and “arrived” in his first college game at Northwestern, when he caught 11 passes for 109 yards and a score along with two carries for 79 yards with another touchdown.  

Unfortunately, Moore’s 2019 campaign was cut short after four games due to injury. But now let’s go a little deeper on Moore, a premier wideout prospect who’ll spend the year training for the NFL instead of playing collegiate football in the Big 10.

Football background

Moore’s freshman season was a masterpiece by every stretch of the imagination. And he didn’t just pad his stats against FBS opponents; he went for 137 yards and a score on 11 catches against Missouri and followed with eight grabs for 110 yards and two more touchdowns the next week against Boston College. Moore had nine snags for 114 yards with two scores against Wisconsin and 11 catches for 94 yards against Auburn. 

But his finest performance came in Purdue’s smashing of then No. 2 ranked Ohio State, a 12-catch, 170-yard, two-score eruption in prime time in a game that featured a litany of future NFLers, and Moore was the best player on the field. Moore had 24 catches for 344 yards and two touchdowns in the first two games of the 2019 season against Nevada and Vanderbilt but was lost for the year two contests later with a hamstring injury. 

Strengths

Moore is as sudden as a lightning bolt. His acceleration off the line is remarkable, and if you blink as he’s changing directions, your brain will be convinced we’re all living in The Matrix. Because of his electric athletic gifts, Moore is impossible to cover at the short-to-intermediate levels and, despite being small, he’s a herculean challenge for any cornerback in press. 

Down the field, Moore has significant juice. Is he Henry Ruggs fast? Probably not. But the film indicates to me he’ll smoothly glide to in the low 4.4s, and a time in the high 4.3s wouldn’t surprise me. 

Moore is also unbelievably difficult to tackle, thanks to his sturdy, compact frame, naturally phenomenal balance, and running back-like vision. His yards-after-the-catch skills are elite. No questions there. According to Pro Football Focus, in 2018, Moore accumulated 37 broken tackles, the highest-figure among all FBS receivers. Tennessee’s Jauan Jennings led college football receivers with 30 broken tackles this past college season, which shows just how high Moore’s 37 the year before were.  

I expect him to have himself quite the combine performance. 

Weaknesses 

Moore isn’t big. At 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds, he’s more than likely to be a slot-only type of weapon in the NFL. While he demonstrated the ability to run a variety of intricate routes with multiple breaks, Moore’s main experience with the Boilermakers was as a quick-game, gadget type.

According to PFF, in that magical 2018 campaign 77% of Moore’s targets were less than nine yards down the field. Most NFL teams would probably have liked to see more film of him working effectively down the field. 

NFL comparison 

Floor: Curtis Samuel
Middle: D.J. Moore
Ceiling: Tyreek Hill

I’m going with a floor/middle ground/ceiling comparison for Parsons because it gives a good general idea of the type of player he is and provide a broad range of outcomes for his level of success in the NFL when considering factors outside his control (coaching, scheme, etc.) once he gets to the league. 

Samuel was a slippery, niche-type player at Ohio State; he got the ball short as a receiver and was frequently used on jet sweeps and screens. In Carolina’s offense, Samuel has been the vertical-route specialist (likely due to his 4.31 speed) but has been held back by quarterback play. He’s been open down the field often. He represents the player Moore could be if his offensive coordinator in the NFL wants to accentuate his straight-line speed with many go/post routes as a pro. 

D.J. Moore is bigger than Rondale Moore — the NFL vet was 6-foot and 210 pounds at the 2018 combine — but their frames are proportionate, and their styles couldn’t be more similar. At Maryland, Moore was a tackle-breaking machine, and he’s been that same type of specialist in his first two seasons with the Panthers.  

No receiver is more dangerous with the football in his hands than Hill, and while not unequivocally the best at his position, he’s probably the scariest wideout for which to design a game plan because of his incendiary speed. Moore doesn’t quite have Hill’s juice, but if he reaches his ceiling, he’ll be a comparably nightmarish to scheme to top. 

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