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NFL Draft

It’s Hard Not To Be Excited About Rondale Moore

  • The Draft Network
  • August 18, 2021
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It’s just one game; that’s what I keep telling myself. But it’s hard to not get really excited about Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Rondale Moore after his first game in an NFL uniform this past weekend.

Moore only played 23 offensive snaps in the Cardinals’ win over the Dallas Cowboys, which was just 33% of the total offensive snaps the team had. But in that 33% and those 23 plays, Moore saw four targets, hauled in three passes for 23 receiving yards, and rushed the ball twice for 16 yards on the ground.

While the numbers weren’t eye-popping yet, the usage—and the speed at which those yards came about—certainly was something to note. Not only did the Cardinals get Moore into the game but they used him in a variety of ways, something many draft fans and evaluators hoped for throughout last draft season.

“We’re going to use him in as many different ways as we can,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “You look at the college film, they did a great job. They have a great offensive system. [Purdue Head] Coach [Jeff] Brohm does a tremendous job there of maximizing his personnel and Rondale is able to do a bunch of different things. Whether it’s handling the ball from the backfield, tossing it to him on a sweep, going outside on a fade route, he does it all. And, the return game is really impressive as well. So, we’re going to move him around and make sure he gets his fair share of touches… He’s a smaller guy in stature, but he’s really, really strong and he’s really, really explosive. So, anytime he gets you that first step, it’s hard to keep up with him.”

When Moore landed in Arizona via the 49th pick in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft, many believed this was a perfect spot. Kingsbury is known as an outside-the-box offensive mind and that’s what you wanted as a landing spot for the talented Moore, whose skill set and athleticism could help a team in a variety of ways. Even from earlier this summer, that’s been the talk of camp, and a manifestation of what Kingsbury has been saying about Moore since getting him to the facility.

“When you look at his body type, you see a guy who is on the shorter end, but really thick and muscled up,” Kingsbury said. “Really explosive. He jumped 42-and-a-half inches, ran a 4.29, [40-yard dash] a 6.63 cone. Again, those numbers are off the charts. Very similar measurable-wise, height, weight, and speed when you look at those numbers to a guy like Tyreek Hill. He’s sort of in that form. He’s explosive enough to play outside, play inside, reverses, screens, all the different things. You want to get the ball in his hands and let him create on the perimeter. Not only that, you see his returnability. Punt returns, kick returns. I think he’s a guy who can help us immediately.”

Moore is in a somewhat crowded Cardinals depth chart for the time being. DeAndre Hopkins is the big name at the top. The passing offense is going to be run through him no matter what—or at least it should. The Cardinals also added veteran A.J. Green, but though there are high hopes for him, there’s no telling what kind of impact the 33-year-old will actually have. Green hasn’t had a 1,000-yard season since 2017 and only played in nine games between 2018 and 2019.

But the targets that will be designed for Hopkins and Green won’t really be the targets Moore is vying for. The competition for Moore-like targets will be with Christian Kirk and Andy Isabella. Kirk is in the fourth and final year of his rookie deal. Kirk has had decent production over the last three years but hasn’t taken that huge leap Cardinals fans have been waiting for. Kirk has been given some carries on the ground like you’d want to see from Moore, which sets a precedent for unique wide receiver touches. As for Isabella, well, if he’s not careful, Moore will take his job. Isabella caught just nine passes in his rookie season and just 21 passes last year. He was already a roster bubble guy, and for as good as Moore looked, it might be an uphill climb.

It seems the most probable situation this year is going to be for Moore to be used as a specialized player in a wide receiver group with Hopkins, Green, and Kirk. But there could very well be a reality where next offseason, it’s Hopkins and Moore running the aerial show in Arizona.

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