In what feels like the 21st consecutive season in which the Baltimore Ravens wide receiver core is not truly settled, what would be a fair expectation of production for a fourth round rookie such as Chris Moore, who will likely be penciled in at the fourth or fifth spot at the position?
Obviously this is something that is inherently impossible to predict, but there are some factors that can be evaluated to give the fan base a clearer picture of what to expect.
The first factor is the health of players around him. Number one wide out Steve Smith Sr. is coming off of a season ending achilles injury, and is nearly double the age of Moore. Smith is still the man, but it would likely be wise to decrease his workload this season. Marc Trestman's offense in 2015 was a combination of smoke, mirrors, and Agent 89, and that was reflected in the 73 targets he saw through eight games. To guarantee his health, it may be wise to reduce some of the pressure that is put on him to perform week in and week out. This combined with uncertainty surrounding the health of 2015 first round pick Breshad Perriman may be enough cause to move Moore higher in the depth chart eventually.
The real reason to believe that Moore could produce in his leadoff season is the tendency of Joe Flacco to utilize speedy receivers. This was on full display in 2011 when Flacco and second round rookie Torrey Smith hooked up for a rookie franchise record seven touchdowns. They later broke the franchise record for receiving touchdowns, combining for 11 scores through the air in 2014.
Moore has been compared to Smith in the past due to his blazing speed, and this could be something the offense could use not only for big plays down the field, but also to draw pass interference penalties. This is something that Smith added to his repertoire early on in his career, and while it would draw the undying ire of other fanbases, it is hard to argue with the results. In 2015, Smith drew a league leading 12 pass interference penalties for 261 yards, a ridiculous amount of manufactured yardage for just one player. Like it or not, this tactic is effectively similar to drawing fouls in basketball, or penalty kicks in soccer. If Moore can learn how to get opposing cornerbacks to produce yardage for him, expect him to see a lot of the field in 2016.