Elijah Moore
Elijah Moore is criminally underrated in the 2021 draft class. (Katie Stratman/USA TODAY Sports)

The 2021 NFL Draft features a talented group of receivers, many of whom will be taken in round 1. However, throughout the years, future stars have dropped to the later rounds and been absolute steals of the draft. Just two years ago, DK Metcalf and AJ Brown were second-round picks, and Terry McLaurin was a third-rounder. Scouts can get discouraged by tedious issues in a receiver’s game, causing their draft stock to fall. This year Elijah Moore will be one of the steals.

Production

The 5’9, 185 lbs junior was a 4-star recruit out of high school but quickly grew into a budding star in his time at Ole Miss. As a freshman, Moore struggled to gain his footing. In an offense where Moore had to compete with DK Metcalf and AJ Brown for targets and snaps, he did not regularly see the field. Delegated to mostly return duties, Moore could not get much going through the air on offense until later in the year where he exploded on the scene against South Carolina. An 11 catch 129-yard performance was impressive, but a one-time wonder for an otherwise lackluster freshman year. Moore’s first year ended with 398 yards on 36 catches.

With the departure of studs Metcalf and Brown, Moore became more integrated into the offense his sophomore year and became Ole Miss’s top weapon. A year that featured multiple 100-yard games, Moore totaled 850 yards on 67 catches for 37% of the Rebels’ receiving yards. The next leading receiver Ole Miss in 2019 had 192 yards. The disappointing season and overall offense outside of Moore led to him being overlooked by a lot of scouts going into the 2020 season.

Lane Kiffin

Ole Miss’s offense and consequently Elijah Moore were blessed with the addition of Lane Kiffin in 2020. The offense lived up to lofty expectations totaling 3,449 passing yards with Elijah Moore being the main beneficiary. Early in the season, Moore went for 143 yards against Alabama’s future NFL corners. Yet Moore’s better days were ahead of him.

In his last three collegiate games, Moore went on a tear with 702 yards, 39 catches, and 5 touchdowns. Moore ended the year with 1,193 yards on 86 receptions and 8 touchdowns, totaling 42% of the Rebels’ passing yards and was a Biletnikoff finalist. Undermined by the greatest receiving season in college football history by DeVonta Smith, teams should still view Moore as one of the top receivers this past season.

The Next Level

In his three years at Ole Miss, Moore has displayed exceptional growth as a receiver. Breaking out at the young age of 19 is in the 80th percentile for receivers and is a strong indicator for success at the next level. Operating against top talent in the SEC, Moore’s production is even more notable.

Moore’s size and speed have helped him become a menace out of the slot. His skill set is not suited for the outside, but NFL offenses are trending towards three-receiver sets more often. Moore displays great short-area quickness to get open with ease against man coverage. In the slot, Moore has a knack for finding holes in zone coverage making his quarterback’s life easy.

At the next level, Moore can be an immediate contributor to a team lacking a slot option. Moore’s athleticism, speed, and elusiveness make him an excellent run after the catch guy. He runs a diverse route tree and can be a weapon all over the field. Many teams are lacking second and third options at receiver and Moore would make an excellent fit for many. Moore is projected to go in the second round but could provide immediate production from day 1 for any team willing to take a chance on him.

Potential Fits

Teams in the late first to mid-second round should be looking at Moore’s skillset and consider drafting him. The Green Bay Packers desperately need a number two opposite of Davante Adams. Another top option for Aaron Rodgers could make the best offense in 2020 even better going into next season. Moore’s ability to separate could push the Packers over the NFC Championship hump they have struggled with for the better part of the last decade.

The New York Giants own an early second-round pick and would be enamored if Moore fell to them. Daniel Jones’s weapons consist of an often-injured Sterling Shepard and unproven Darius Slayton, so bringing in a new wideout is a must this Giants offseason. Moore’s skillset makes the Giants’ offense more dynamic as a whole, which is needed for the 4th worst passing attack in 2020.