Note: The NFL Draft begins April 29 and the Green Bay Packers have the 29th pick in the first round. Between now and then, I’ll examine 29 players — one per day — the Packers could select with that pick.
Today, we look at Ole Miss wide receiver Elijah Moore.
ELIJAH MOORE, WR, OLE MISS
Moore had a solid freshman season in 2018 (36 receptions, 398 yards, two touchdowns), then erupted as a sophomore. That season, Moore caught 67 passes for 850 yards (12.7) and six touchdowns.
In 2020, Moore set a school record with 86 receptions for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns. He lit up Alabama with 11 catches, and over his final three games, he averaged 13 receptions and 200 yards.
Moore was named first-team Associated Press All-American, first-team All-SEC and was a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award. He then opted out of the season after just eight games.
Unfortunately for Moore, he’s probably best known for his antics during a game against Mississippi State in 2019. Moore scored with just four seconds left to pull Ole Miss within 21-20. Moore then celebrated by mimicking a urinating dog in the endzone and was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct.
That pushed the extra point back 15 yards, and when the kicker missed it, MSU prevailed in the annual Egg Bowl.
Height: 5-9 ½”
Bench press: 17 reps of 225
40-yard dash: 4.35
Vertical jump: 36”
Broad jump: 10-0”
Moore is a unique slot target who’s likely to step in and contribute immediately. He’s ultra-competitive, fearless and stronger than his measurables indicate.
He has outstanding hands and a knack for finding the open spots in zone coverage. His quickness off the ball and solid route running also make him a nightmare in man coverage.
Moore’s arms are short, and corners with length could give him some trouble. His size, and ability to last a 17-game season, are also huge concerns.
Green Bay hasn’t had a legitimate slot receiver since Randall Cobb left after the 2018 season. Moore would immediately change that, and give the entire unit a boost.
Taking a wide receiver early, though, would be out of character for Green Bay. Javon Walker (2002) was the last receiver Green Bay selected in Round 1, and Davante Adams (2014) is the only wideout the Packers have taken in the second round since 2012.
While Adams has blossomed into a star, the rest of Green Bay’s wide receiver group remains subpar, so a player like Moore could be intriguing.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling has big play ability, but had a drop rate of 11.8% last season. Allen Lazard is serviceable, but is slow and best suited to be a No. 3. Equanimeous St. Brown had a drop rate of 31.3% and can’t stay healthy.
In addition, MVS, St. Brown and Devin Funchess — who sat out the 2020 season due to COVID concerns — are all unrestricted free agents after the 2021 campaign. So, the Packers need to start adding replacements.
THEY SAID IT
Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin on Moore: “It’s not like he’s a midget. With him, it’s important to understand his play count and work load in a game that are much different than a lot of these other receivers that you compare him to in the draft. When you watch him sometimes maybe he doesn’t look quite as fast, but you’ve got to understand he’s playing a lot of plays, there are like five to 10 seconds between snaps.”
NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah on Moore: “I’m about playmakers, can you make plays, and Elijah Moore, as I started doing more work on the corners ironically, I started noticing more of Elijah Moore, which brought me back to the tape. He tore up everyone in the SEC this last year with elite route running, that’s what caused him to vault up the board for me to a solid, top-of-the-second-round prospect.”
Moore said: “I don’t know why I don’t get picked first overall. You can’t tell me there are many people better than me. I feel like I’m the best offensive player in the whole draft. … Of course I have dreams and aspirations to go in the first round, but of course I want to go to the right position.”
NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks on Moore: “We have celebrated him as a route-runner, as a play-maker from the slot, he just gets it, meaning he understands how to play the position, he consistently gets open. He is a handful for cornerbacks to deal with in the slot, he is someone that you can plug-and-play. You drop him into the offense I would expect him to have 60-70 receptions, 1,000 yards, and make a ton of plays moving the chains as a first-down maker.”
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