If you are like me, then I know you are hesitant to take a wide receiver with a top-10 pick, especially with some of the Bears’ history in that regard (looking at you Kevin White).
Many would argue that receiver is not a valuable enough of a position to take that high in the draft and those picks must be spent on high impact positions like offensive tackle or an EDGE defender. If that is the case, then players like Calvin Ridley, Courtland Sutton, and maybe even Christian Kirk will be unavailable when the Bears can ideally take a wide receiver in the second round.
Nonetheless, there will be many capable options in Round 2 of the draft, one of those being Maryland Wide Receiver D.J. Moore.
The first strength of Moore, which is actually off the field, is that he is only 20 years old and will not turn 21 until April, compared to potential first-round target Calvin Ridley who will turn 24 during his rookie season. This could allow Moore to have three more prime years in the NFL.
On the field, Moore had 80 catches on 130 targets for 1,033 yards despite playing with four quarterbacks throughout his junior year. A good portion of Moore’s yards came after the catch, which is one of his most obvious strengths as he carries himself like a running back once he catches the ball which is exhibited in this 92-yard catch and run against Nebraska.
Moore is very skilled at using subtle cuts, maintaining speed through them, and hand fighting to create separation on a deep route. All of those traits are displayed in this 2015 game against Ohio State during his freshman year.
Despite only being 5-foot-11 Moore is excellent at high pointing the ball and making contested catches and can go up and get the ball as seen here:
One of the few times I saw Moore against press coverage was against Indiana’s Rashard Fant (projected fifth-round pick according to nfldraftscout.com), which he beat fairly easily while also making a nice one-handed catch.
If I had to project, Moore probably runs somewhere in the mid 4.4s (Fant runs around a 4.45) and will be right around the same time as former Maryland, and current Viking, WR Stefon Diggs. Of course, we’ll find out his official 40-time in the coming months.
As mentioned above Moore is only 5-foot-11. That is not the ideal size for a boundary receiver in the NFL, and he is also a bit heavy for his size at 215 pounds, though he carries his weight well.
A lot of Moore’s targets were on bubble screens. We also have yet to see how successful Moore would be running routes from an NFL route tree. Keep in mind, he was the best player on a bad team, so much of his production could be contributed to playing in garbage time against soft coverages.
There were times that Moore had trouble creating separation against cornerbacks which was evident against the NFL caliber secondary of Ohio State as he only had two catches for 11 yards.
I contribute part of this to poor offensive game planning and inconsistent quarterback play as well as Ohio State rolling a safety towards him though. However, it is still alarming that he had trouble getting open against that secondary. Take this play for example:
Though I am not one for comparisons because every player is so unique, it can be said that Moore could be used similarly to how Golden Tate is utilized in Detroit both in the slot and also on the boundary.
With Matt Nagy and Mark Helfrich bringing with them spread and west coast concepts, Moore’s ability to gain yards after the catch becomes all that more important. While he may not have Tyreek Hill level speed, he can still take a screen 65 yards.
Moore also has the quickness and fluid hips to run the slants, curls, and outs that Nagy’s offense will require. Knowing what we know about the west coast offense, Moore might actually be a perfect fit for both Nagy and quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
Moore can take a handoff, catch screen passes, and stretch the defense. He has a unique build to him, very similar even to some running backs, and some franchises might see that as a problem but Nagy will view him as a unique tool in his play calling toolbox.
As someone the Bears could target in the second round, possibly even if they trade back to recoup some picks lost from last year, Moore is a very interesting and young player who could become a go-to target for Trubisky for years.