This past April, the Baltimore Ravens made wide receiver Chris Moore one of their five fourth round picks in the 2016 NFL draft.
Coming out of Cincinnati, Moore was viewed as simply a speed receiver, with some of the knocks on him being inconsistent hands and raw route running ability. He was mocked as late as the sixth round by some analysts, many of whom viewed him as a project with not more positional upside than just being a burner on the outside.
Early returns from OTAs and training camp indicated that Moore was projecting to fill out that kind of role for the Ravens at some point. That is, when he wasn’t injured and off the practice field.
The injuries were limiting to Moore from an obvious standpoint; if you can’t play, then you can’t develop your game, and that can be especially important for a rookie. However, when Moore made his preseason debut for the Ravens against Indianapolis, he looked to be a more polished player than the one we heard about on draft day.
While it’s important not to get carried away by just a few plays from a preseason series, there is more value to what we saw out of Moore than many might concede.
Preseason scores and stats are meaningless, but if a player is able to showcase certain traits and abilities, than that is the best that can be hoped for from the exhibition games.
As a result, Moore’s play against the Colts is an encouraging sign. He showed an ability to run short routes underneath and outside as well as an ability to get open for quarterback Josh Johnson.
Especially impressive is Moore able to showcase these abilities in his first appearance. As a result, I think that he has probably earned a bit more playing time in the third game against the Lions.
Steve Smith Sr. has stated that he probably won’t play at all throughout the preseason, leaving an opening for Moore to possibly appear with the first unit at some point.
If he does, let’s hope he is able to capitalize on the opportunity and confirm his status as a player on the rise.