Green Bay Packers

A Small Wideout Who Could Have a Big Impact

Photo Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel (USA TODAY Sports)

Although they infamously did not draft a wide receiver last year, the Green Bay Packers have recently selected the position in the later rounds. Two receivers from the 2018 class got ample playing time last season Marquez Valdes-Scantling (fifth round) and Equanimeous St. Brown (sixth round).

Despite both of them showing flashes of what they could be, they both lack the consistency to take over the WR2 spot as a reliable threat for quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Looking at Green Bay’s wide receiver depth chart, it’s worth noting that all of the receivers are six feet or taller. While height is something you can’t teach and is valuable to a receiver, the Packers may have sacrificed other attributes in favor of height.

Elijah Moore isn’t the biggest guy on the field. But while the Ole Miss receiver is just 5’9″, 178 lbs., his play on the field belies his smaller stature.

While everyone fixated on DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle this year, Moore quietly led the country in yards per game (149) while finishing second behind the previously Smith in yards (1,193) and receptions (86). Those numbers could have potentially been higher if he had not opted out of the final two games of the season.

Moore’s sure-handedness was on display for everyone this season. He only dropped two passes this past season, according to PFF, and was accountable for over a third of passes caught at Ole Miss (36.1%), trailing only Smith in that category.

His play caught the attention of many people, most notably Cleveland Browns receiver Odell Beckhamm Jr.

During his time in Oxford, Moore showcased his ability to run crisp routes and gain separation. His solid releases at the top of the route put the defenders on their back foot, immediately pacing Moore in a great position to exploit the coverage.

Moore ran a 4.35-second 40-yard dash during his pro day, and he frequently uses his speed to get in behind defenses. He instinctively changes directions to find the soft spots in the zone to create yards after the reception to break free for big plays. In conjunction with his vision and ability to elude the opposing tacklers, his quickness makes him a threat to take the ball to the house every single time he gets his hands on it.

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Moore played both in the slot and on the outside at Ole Miss. But his smaller stature will likely restrict him to a slot-only role at the next level. But teams shouldn’t hold that against him, considering how important the role of slot receiver has become in the NFL. There he can use his superior talent to beat what will likely be the team’s third-best cornerbacks, and he can use his route-running and speed to take advantage of the matchups and create big plays.

His main weakness? Well, he probably won’t be a jump-ball receiver. His size also limits him as a blocker. While he is more than willing to block, he often gets overpowered. He put up an impressive 20 reps on the bench press, but it’s evident that his height is a hindrance in the blocking game when you turn on the film.

But his presence will take pressure off Davante Adams and Rodgers will have yet another target who is both explosive and sure-handed. Moore’s ability to operate out of the slot would force all of Green Bay’s other wideouts to operate on the outside. Considering the height of the other Packers’ wideouts, this would be an almost ideal situation. Moore would be able to tear apart opposing defenses alongside the consistency of Adams and the big-play ability of Valdez-Scantling.

With the Packers selecting at pick 29, they likely will miss out on the top players in their positions of need with offensive lineman and corners set to come off the board early. If they find themselves in a position where they have no viable options at any other position, they should look to add a dynamic playmaker in Moore instead of reaching for a position of greater need.

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