With the 2021 NFL Draft now less than a couple weeks away, we examine some of the prospects who could be of interest to the New England Patriots.
In this scouting report, we take a closer look at Rondale Moore, a wide receiver from Purdue University.
Weight: 180 pounds
Age: 20 (will be 21 by the start of the 2021 NFL season)
40-Yard Dash: 4.29 seconds (unofficial)
Vertical Jump: 42.5in (1.08m)
Hands: 6/10 - Moore had bouts of focus drops.
Contact Balance/Elusiveness: 7/10 - Moore showed some decent elusiveness and ability to take some contact despite his size.
Route Footwork Efficiency: 8/10 - While his footwork could use some polishing, Moore showed sharp, crisp routes.
Short Routes: 8/10 - Moore's short routes were effective at immediately making space.
Medium Routes: 8/10 - Moore showed the ability to settle in the intermediate space and move the sticks.
Deep Routes: 8/10 - With some fairly explosive long speed, Moore's good deep route running makes him a viable threat at the next level.
Quickness: 9.5/10 - Moore is twitchy and can go from 0-60 fairly efficiently.
Long Speed: 9.5/10 - Moore's sub-4.3 speed was more than visible on his game film.
Zone IQ: 9/10 - Showing a great understanding of leverages and soft spots, Moore was able to settle in zones and move the sticks.
Release: 8/10 - While his release could improve, it was enough for him to be a threat against press.
50/50 Ball: 4/10 - Moore's diminutive size makes him a below average 50/50 ball player and shows limited potential for improvement in the NFL.
Big Play Factor: 9/10 - Moore is an electric player and his ability to threaten a house call every snap makes him an interesting watch.
Draft Grade: Round 2-3
Fit with the Patriots:
Despite his diminutive size, Rondale Moore would be an incredible fit in the New England Patriots system. What he lacks in size, he more than makes up for in speed, explosiveness, verticality, and intelligence.
Moore burst onto the scene with a spectacular performance against the Ohio State Buckeyes in 2018 when he had 12 catches for 170 yards and two touchdowns, including an incredible dagger late in the fourth quarter in which he broke through five Buckeyes tacklers to show an impressive blend of power and explosion.
With the retirement of Julian Edelman, the hallmark undersized slot receiver of the 2010s, the Patriots absolutely should look to Moore as a replacement. While he mainly took snaps from the slot, he showed the versatility to start plays as a Z receiver or from the backfield.
While Edelman was known more for his twitch than long speed, Moore showed off both in college at an elite level. His ability to threaten vertically meant he had an easier time running shallower routes, and his dangerous yards-after-catch ability meant even his shallower routes could be productive in the long run.
Moore is simply electric. On any given play, his shiftiness and route polish meant he could wiggle wide open on a route and score with his elite long speed. If Moore was slightly taller, he likely would be hyped up as a top wide receiver by draft media.
Lastly, like Edelman did throughout his career, Moore showed incredible special teams upside. He showed flashes as a punt and kickoff returner and could absolutely handle those duties in the league as an added bonus. While New England likely wouldn't use him in return situations with first-team All-Pro punt returner Gunner Olszewski on the roster, Moore could be a rotational piece.
The 2020 Patriots lacked players who could create space on routes and then further thrive in open space; while Bill Belichick has had an aggressive offseason, a wide receiver like Moore who is too quick to cover in strict man could be a valuable asset to the offense to ensure the sticks stay moving.