#24 Panthers: WR DJ Moore
NFL Draft Scout
…One of the easiest ways to evaluate wide receivers is to simply ask the quarterback(s) on the team to name their favorite target. Scouts need not ask Maryland's passers - there were four of them in 2017 - this question, as Moore's school record 80 receptions for a career-high 1,033 yards and eight touchdowns provide all the answer one needs.
How reliant upon Moore was Maryland? Consider that he became the first FBS player to record a 1,000 yard receiving season without a quarterback on the team throwing for 1,500 yards since longtime New York Giants standout Hakeem Nicks was catching passes for North Carolina in 2008.
Moore signed with the Terrapins as a well-known playmaker out of Philadelphia. He wasted little time in making an impact, playing in all 12 games as a true freshman and tying for the team lead with three touchdown receptions while finishing second on the team in both receptions (25) and receiving yards (357). These numbers jumped to 41 catches for 637 yards and six touchdowns (as well as 15 kick returns for 353 yards and 11 rushes for 55 yards) as a sophomore, averaging a Big Ten-best 15.3 yards per play.
Injuries at quarterback limited Moore's game-to-game consistency in 2017 but one wouldn't know it with his end-of-season statistics or the fact that he earned First Team All-Big Ten honors from rival coaches. Though he was clearly Maryland's go-to wideout - with the Terps' next closest receiver (Taivon Jacobs) producing roughly half Moore's receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns - opponents had a hard time stopping him. In fact, Moore finished the regular season as one of three players in FBS with 80 catches, 1000 receiving yards and eight receiving touchdowns, providing one of the few bright spots for a squad that finished the 2017 season 4-8, including just 2-7 in conference play.
Earned Pennsylvania Class AAA All-State honors while totaling 35 receptions for 1,012 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior...served as a team captain...tallied 39 receptions for 832 yards and 13 touchdowns during junior season...selected to the 2014 Offense-Defense All-American Game and The Big 33 Game...ranked as a four-star recruit and the best wide receiver in the state of Pennsylvania by Scout...a member of the National Honor Society...coached by Albie Crosby.
Short but certainly not small with a running back-like compact frame including broad shoulders, thick thighs and an impressive all-around musculature that testifies to time spent in the weight room. Possesses a naturally low center of gravity, very good balance and rare core strength for a receiver, which makes it difficult to knock Moore off his feet. Very quick, which helps him gain clear of press coverage, generate separation as a route-runner and is especially effective in eluding defenders once the ball is in his hands. Shows good top-end speed with the first-step acceleration to gain a step on defenders... Accelerates smoothly. Generally a reliable pass-catcher, showing the ability to extend and pluck far outside of his frame. Excellent vision as a ball-carrier, including on cut-backs, exhibiting the spatial awareness to feel defenders around him as well as the patience to allow his blocks to develop (Nebraska-2016). Alert and competitive downfield blocker. Experienced punt and kick returner. Durable performer, leaving Maryland with 35 consecutive starts... Highly regarded by the Maryland coaching staff for a "contagious" attitude and work ethic... -- Rob Rang 1/2/2018
Obvious size limitations, almost surely meaning that Moore will be relegated to slot receiver duties in the NFL. Lacks the length and leaping ability to provide much of a target on the perimeter, too easily being squeezed into the sideline... Was not asked to run a variety of routes with the Terrapins, doing the majority of his damage on relatively simple complementary patterns like quick screens, curls and drag routes... Needs to show the same burst out of his breaks that he shows in eluding defenders after the catch... Too often allows the football into his chest with some ugly drops on tape (Michigan State-2017). No touchdowns on 30 combined punt (15) and kickoff (15) returns over his career... -- Rob Rang 1/2/2018
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.