By: Ladarius Brown
When drafting, some teams position themselves to get the player they coveted. In other cases, some players fall to teams as they slide down the draft, getting great value. Looking back at the 2021 NFL Draft, one such player of value was WR Rondale Moore out of Purdue. Falling to the Arizona Cardinals in the 2nd round, Moore was a major steal. In a draft loaded with great WR talent, he could very well end up being that 1st round value that many (myself included) for the Cardinals.
At 5’9” 180 lbs., Moore is on the short side for the position but what he may lack in height, he makes up for with his speed. With an unofficial 40-time of 4.29, he possesses the big play ability on deep routes. Looking at Moore’s game, he can be a Tyreek Hill-like player on offense for the Cardinals and QB Kyler Murray: speed for days. To me, if there is anything you cannot teach in the NFL, it is speed.
In his freshman year at Purdue in 2018, Moore led the nation in receptions (114), receiving yards (1,258 yards), and a consensus All-American. Plus, he led in broken tackles with 33. In 2019, Moore was limited to just three games with a hamstring injury and played in three of the Boilermakers’ six games in 2020 due to finger and lower body injuries. Since that 2018 season, he had 64 receptions, 657 receiving yards, and 2 TDs combined in 2019 & 2020. It largely explains why he fell to round two.
However, Moore fell to a great team in the Cardinals because of HC Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid-style offense. This is a major reason why Moore could be the biggest steal. This offense relies heavily upon WRs. Moore was a slot receiver and occasionally was spotted in the backfield of the Boilermakers’ offense. He was utilized in the short and middle zones of the field, with the offense using many passing plays created to generate chances for him to get the ball in his hands in open space.
Looking at the Cardinals’ likely depth chart at WR, he is a 2nd option at the slot position but, with a 17-game schedule, Moore has the opportunity to be a No.1 option there as the season progresses. He has all the tools to be a great slot receiver in the NFL: fast, agility, explosiveness, solid hands, and run after the catch. He can take pressure off of their 3x All-Pro WR DeAndre Hopkins and could very well develop into a No. 2 option on the overall depth chart.
I can potentially see him also as a kick return option based on that explosiveness with the ball in his hands. His 5’9” 180 lbs. frame and sub 4.3 speed are a reminder of a player. This player was 5’11, 190 lbs. that was pretty good with the ball in his hands on special teams: Devin Hester. My point is that Moore’s size is not as big as a detriment because of his playmaking capability. If the Cardinals get that 2018 production out of Moore, he will be a major steal and a great player for years to come.