Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Norv Turner was one of the first to greet DJ Moore after his workout at Maryland’s pro day in College Park on Wednesday. Turner, alongside scouts from 30 other teams, had just put Moore through a gamut of route-running skills, further evaluating the mechanics of a player who burst onto the scene as a potential first-round pick after an impressive showing at the NFL combine.
Moore flashed a grin as he hugged Turner — Carolina will be one of the teams he meets with in the coming weeks, with visits also lined up with the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots — and he quickly made the rounds with other giddy NFL talent evaluators inside Cole Field House. It wasn’t difficult to see why Moore was the featured prospect in College Park on Wednesday; none of his former teammates, save perhaps defensive back J.C. Jackson, are projected to be selected in next month’s draft.
But the more pressing question is where Moore ranks among the top receivers in the entire draft class, a status he joined after he measured taller than expected at 6 feet (210 pounds) and ran faster than expected with a 4.42 40-yard dash, not to mention an 11-foot broad jump that underscored his freakish athleticism. Most mock drafts have vaulted Moore into the first round; the Philadelphia native is currently projected to go No. 29 overall to Jacksonville, according to ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. Carolina could be an option before that at No. 24, while other sites have Moore pegged as high as No. 16 overall to Baltimore.
“As far as round-wise, [scouts] don’t really talk about it. They just tell me I’m a great player and my ceiling is so high,” Moore said, adding that he’s intrigued by the idea of possibly staying local and playing in Washington or Baltimore, or in his home town of Philadelphia. On Wednesday, he hoped to show those scouts that he has been polishing his route-running.
He particularly has been trying to hone how he runs out of his breaks; while Moore was named the Big Ten’s top receiver in 2017 largely because of his explosiveness in runs after the catch, scouts have been looking for that same burst and consistency earlier in his route running.
But Moore has also been lauded for his ability to adapt as a player during three turbulent seasons at Maryland, where he played with eight quarterbacks and still cemented his place as one of the program’s best ever at the position. Turner and the Panthers assigned Moore to their own route-running drills on Wednesday, and the player throwing for drills was one of those eight players under center that threw to Moore in his college career: former Terrapins quarterback and current graduate assistant Caleb Rowe.
“[Scouts] just say that’s impressive that I had eight different quarterbacks throughout my three years here,” Moore said.
He spoke with former Maryland greats at the position before he began the draft process, Torrey Smith and Stefon Diggs, both of whom slipped outside of the first round in the NFL draft. Smith was a second-round pick, while Diggs fell to the fifth round and has since used that as a slight to help establish himself as a budding star with the Minnesota Vikings. Moore has tried to model himself after Diggs the past three years, but unlike his predecessor, he is not flying under the radar in the lead-up to the draft.
“On the inside it feels great,” Moore said. “On the outside, you have to continue to work hard, on and off the field, just to get better at your craft.”