The 2021 NFL Draft is inching closer and closer, and it is full of promising prospects at positions of need for the Baltimore Ravens. This is the second of the professional comparison series for wide receivers that they could target in the early rounds.
Up next is Rondale Moore out of Purdue.
Pro comparison: Tyreek Hill
He doesn’t possess quite the blazing speed of the Kansas City Chiefs’ top wideout but then again no one does. However, he can still get behind opposing defenses with great speed. He can take short routes the distance with great acceleration and burst and is every bit as versatile.
Like Hill, he is an offensive weapon that while undersized, brings more to the table than the prototypical receiver. Moore is a threat to make a big play, pick up a chunk of yardage, and take it the distance whenever the ball is in his hands. He can receive the ball in orbit motion, speed outs, slants, skinny posts, or screens and make magic happen.
Moore is actually an inch shorter and four pounds lighter than Hill, who is 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds, but he is more physical after the catch and arguably just as elusive in the open field. Both players track the ball excellently downfield and exhibit great body control, as well as an ability to elevate for and come down with contested catches.
His rugged playing style doesn’t match his small frame and has led to him having a bit of a checkered injury history, but when he’s healthy, he can be the most dangerous player on the field. He’s a threat to score from anywhere and will likely break some ankles along the way.
Moore’s best season came during his freshman year in 2018, when he recorded 14 touchdowns and nearly 1,500 yards from scrimmage, including 114 catches for 1,258 yards receiving. He finished that year with over 2,000 all-purpose yards with his combined 744 yards from kick and punt returns included.
Injuries have limited him to just seven games and just under 700 yards and three scores from scrimmage over the last two years combined.
He is not the ‘X’ receiver that fans and pundits want to see the Ravens add this offseason, and he’d be the fourth player on the roster at the position measuring in under 6 feet who is projected to be a dynamic slot option at the NFL level.
While some may argue that his skillset and profile are redundant and similar to Marquise Brown’s, if he’s the best player available when the Ravens are on the clock sometime on day one or two of the draft, that shouldn’t matter.
The Chiefs had an emerging Tyreek Hill coming off a career year in 2018 when they selected another short speedster in the second round of the 2019 draft in Mecole Hardman out of Georgia. Hardman made the Pro Bowl as a rookie albeit as a returner and has a significant role in their offense that mirrors Hill’s because they both possess identical skillsets and can be used in a similar fashion.
Even if they do draft Moore, it could happen after they either signed a true ‘X’ type in free agency or drafted one before him, since he is projected to go as early as the late first and as late as the middle third.
The Ravens have taken two swings at receiver in each of the last three drafts including each of the first two under current General Manager Eric DeCosta. So far, Brown has shown the most promise, but it doesn’t mean that they’ll stop swinging at pass catchers of varying heights and dimensions.