The hype train is humming over at One Jets Drive over the Jets second round pick Elijah Moore. The rookie wideout from Ole Miss who lead college football in yards per game last season has impressed in OTAs and minicamps thus far and the excitement from the coaching staff and fan base is skyrocketing. The question I, and many others, keep getting asked is “what are realistic expectations?” or “what is Elijah Moore’s ceiling?” The 5’9″, 178 lb. speedster is hoping to take the NFL and his Jets career by storm.
There have been many comparisons to Elijah Moore’s game and size from players like Steve Smith, Santana Moss and Tyreek Hill to guys like Antonio Brown and current Jet Jamison Crowder. While it is lofty praise for the 21 year old to be compared to Antonio Brown, who is arguably the best wideout over the past decade in the NFL, draft analyst Ryan Roberts said on the TOJ Pod that he would be wary of doing so: “…wow, that is some comparison and am a bit wary of something like that.” While Roberts didn’t feel great about the comparison, he did mention Moore’s elite ability to get open and create space saying that Moore is “…one of the best manipulators of space in this year’s draft.” While Moore’s style is like Brown’s, Moore has also reminded a lot of scouts and fans of Steve Smith and Santana Moss for their game breaking speed and ability in tight space but being incredible tough slot receivers with minimal drops. Moore has reps from the X and Z position as well but will function mostly out of the slot in this west coast Shanahan scheme for gang green. For the Jets’ sake, if Moore turns out to be any of the aforementioned players at pick at 34, he will be a homerun pick and building block for the future.
Rookie wideouts have had the ability to come into the NFL right away over the past 2 years and make instant impacts, especially guys who possess an elite trait. Big bodied late 1st and 2nd round receivers like D.K. Metcalf, Terry McLaurin, Chase Claypool, Tee Higgins, AJ Brown and Brandon Aiyuk have all seen success because of their size, speed and ball skills early in their career. For guys like Justin Jefferson and Deebo Samuel who have used their elite quickness and route running to make massive impacts out of a primary slot position early in their careers. Jefferson and Samuel offer a great platform for a guy like Moore who posses those qualities and will be in a very similar scheme to the ones ran in Minnesota and San Francisco.
Long term what kind of career is he projected to have? If you look at where he can get to as his NFL ceiling it becomes a bit more challenging. NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah has mentioned Moore as “an outstanding route runner” and a “natural hands catcher,” which bodes well for Moore becoming one of the top slot wideouts in the NFL and someone who projects to be a heavy-target option going forward. In today’s NFL you don’t have to be the traditional big bodied X wideout to be a team’s #1 guy, and it is realistic to think Moore will be that guy over the next 5-7 years. He is a guy who will be talked about down the line as an 80 catch, 1200-yard, 8-10 touchdown a year player who is always in contention to be pro bowl level player. It’s something the Jets have been looking for since the days of Keyshawn and Coles, and Joe Douglas hopes this is the Jets cornerstone offensive weapon of the future.