GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers drafting a wide receiver in the first round is practically a once-in-a-generation kind of thing.
They haven’t done it since 2002, when they grabbed Javon Walker at No. 20 overall. Before that, they hadn’t taken a receiver first since landing Sterling Sharpe at No. 7 overall in 1988. Before that, it was James Lofton at No. 6 overall in 1978.
Will this be the year? Who knows, but Pro Football Focus delivered Mississippi’s Elijah Moore in its latest two-round mock draft.
Moore’s not just a receiver but he’s a receiver who has thrived in the slot. While Davante Adams dominates wherever he lines up, the Packers have had a hole in the slot since Randall Cobb’s prime years.
“Moore is a zone-coverage beater who is completely unafraid to make plays over the middle of the field,” reads part of writer Anthony Treash’s summation. “He exploited holes in zone looks like clockwork in Lane Kiffin’s offense at Ole Miss. In fact, no FBS receiver generated more plays of 15-plus yards in 2020 via finding a hole in zone than Moore (12). Against such coverages in general, Moore racked up the second-most yards per route run in the Power Five (3.87).”
Moore caught 86 passes for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns in 2020, plus carried 14 times for 64 yards. He is sure-handed and a creator of yards after the catch. While he has the skill set to thrive as a returner, he has meager production returning punts.
In his career, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has completed only seven passes to receivers selected in the first round: five by Tavon Austin this year and two by Koren Robinson. He has thrown four touchdown passes to players selected in the first round – all to tight end Marcedes Lewis the past two seasons.
In Round 2, Green Bay landed a cornerback with the size to replace Kevin King.