2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Elijah Mooreby Alex Barbour December 25, 2020 2 comments
Elijah Moore appears to be a standard quick-twitch slot wide receiver; however, his play demonstrates a wide range of qualities that translate smoothly into the NFL. Moore competed with A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf from the jump at Ole Miss, making it hard for him to earn a starting role. His friendship with Brown has aided his development into the Biletnikoff award conversation. While some will remember Moore as the man who did the infamous celebration in the egg bowl in 2019, many will remember him for his jaw-dropping talent on the field. Moore projects well into any scheme in need of a dynamic, versatile slot weapon.
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Name: Elijah Moore
Position: Wide Receiver
School: Ole Miss
Weight: 184 lbs
Moore is force-fed an immense amount of targets. In 2020 alone, he only had one game where he had less than ten receptions. His quarterback, Matt Corral, is known for his tight-window throws as well as his rainbow deep balls, allowing Moore to receive a variety of passes. These passes range from flip passes in the backfield to three-yard slants to 30-yard streaks. The variety allows Moore to showcase his ability to catch different passes, be it touch, bullet, and lob. He also receives a large amount of physical punishment from receiving the rainbow balls and tight-window throws, showing his ability to possess the ball even through contact, a crucial trait that many NFL receivers are demonstrating a lack of during the 2020 season. His hands are among the best in the class.
Contested Catch (6/10)
His frame leans away from having him being the desirable downfield, one on one jump ball threat, especially in Ole Miss’s offense with Kenny Yeboah and Dontario Drummond taking that role by storm. There are instances where Moore “mosses” defensive backs in highlight-reel fashion (one example being against Florida in the 3rd Quarter on a deep post). The bottom line is that, although his body is not ideal for this situation, the mentality of a playmaker always allows Moore to be a threat, even in the aggressive catch game.
Straight Line Speed (8.75/10)
Turn on the tape and watch him look like a Beyblade hitting the ground for the first time after its release: he is electric. His burst will be discussed later on, but watching his speed against Alabama, where their corners are far from unathletic, just popped off, He seemed to outpace even the fastest defensive backs for the Crimson Tide. Every play appears to have great potential for Moore to burn the defense for a score, which essentially happened vs. South Carolina, where he put up over 200 yards against some of the best cornerbacks in the country. Moore is no John Ross, but he shows that regardless of his testing results, which should be in the mid to low 4.4’s. He has game-breaking gameplay speed.
Short Area Burst (6/10)
This is a tricky one. Moore has both an amazing burst as well as a lack of it, depending on the situation. When beginning a longer route, he tends to have a slow start, then a very fast acceleration. On the other hand, when Moore is lined up in the backfield, running a slant, or simply given the ball behind the line of scrimmage, his burst is far more than noticeable, it is lethal.
After the Catch (8.25/10)
Moore flashes his ace of spades here. Before talking about his run after the catch abilities, it is critical to note how Ole Miss aligns him sometimes in the backfield as a running back. Why does this matter? Ole Miss knows how his ball carrier vision is lethal, especially paired with his short-range burst and long-range speed. Translating this to after catching the ball appears to be natural for Moore. He seems to have a knack for understanding the locations of defenders around him, which has led to a far greater concentration on the ball, which helps with his hands category. Moore uses his insane combination of abilities to pad up the stat sheet like few others could try to do, even against strong defenses like Alabama and Florida.
Moore’s release is by far his worst trait. When analyzing the tape from Ole Miss vs. Alabama, there were several times where he would get stopped midway through his route by a linebacker, causing Moore to take more time to gain separation, time quarterbacks have. However, when Moore runs slant routes, his footwork allows the press corner to give leeway to him getting a clean release to the inside. This flaw may limit Moore to being an exclusive slot in the NFL.
Route Running (6.0/10)
While his routes are far from as poor as the rating suggests, Moore’s lack of a route-tree certainly hinders his ability to score well in this category. From every game they have played, there has been essentially zero routes designated as an out-breaking route (not a flat or wheel, but any version of an out or corner). His ability to use his speed and burst to create short and long-range separation will be crucial in developing this at the next level; however, the lack of a route-tree certainly is a noticeable red flag.
Moore’s tape suggests that against stickier man corners, such as Marco Wilson, he has a hard time gaining separation in medium-range situations, such as five-step slants. However, his short-range separation, as well as long-range, are beyond adequate. He demonstrates two pathways to separation: straight-line speed and short burst. When routes are between 5-15 yards, Moore’s body position and hands tend to be the reason why he still gets targeted. This could become a problem in the NFL if a team were to expect him to become an all-field threat like Tyler Boyd.
Positional Versatility (7.5/10)
Moore truly shines in this spot. He will never be a boundary receiver unless he can expand his route tree. However, Moore looks very comfortable in the backfield as a gadget running back/wide receiver hybrid. This role will pay dividends in the long run for adding more plays where he can be a playmaker. This role also helps his draft stock. Moore is a true slot with gadget weapon versatility, which can be a real threat to defenses and special teams.
Competitive Toughness (2/5)
Watching Moore on plays that do not include him as a primary target shows how selfish he is on the field. There were plenty of instances where he is standing and watching the play develop five yards away rather than blocking and trying to help his team’s quest to victory. This raises major character concerns as well as red flags on how he blocks. With that said, his willingness to take hits when it is his time to shine is far more than justifiable to rank a two out of five.
The health bill is virtually clean for this young, energetic prospect. His clean bill of health is an intriguing trait for a primary weapon on a pass-heavy offense.
Moore, if used correctly, will be one of the best wide receivers in this class. His rare combination of speed, hands, burst, and versatility provide him with values that many others (such as Rashod Bateman and Terrace Marshall Jr.) cannot bring to the table. Under the right coaching, Moore can potentially grow his route tree, allowing him to sprout into a player of the caliber of a Steve Smith. With a slight personality tweak and an expansion of the route tree, Moore can undoubtedly prove to be one of the top-five wide receivers in this class.
Final Grade (69/100): Late-Second Round
Player Comp: Keke Coutee