Elijah Moore, a man who can threaten the edge, can have an immediate impact for the New York Jets in today’s NFL.
If someone told me pre-draft that the New York Jets were selecting a wide receiver with the 34th overall pick, I would have been furious. I was part of the group that thought the wide receiver position could be addressed later—considering the team had so many needs.
I even wrote an article about eventual Seattle Seahawks’ draftee Dwayne Eskridge (who was picked in the second round at 56th overall) that projected him as a potential mid-round target for the Jets who could be the do-it-all guy early in his career and later develop into a complete wide receiver.
And now, after watching this draft unfold, I tend to agree with the decision of the Jets brass. Every selection was part of the big plan: Surround Zach Wilson with the best possible talent.
In exchange, the Jets will have to sacrifice on defense. They are betting on the progress of former draft picks (Jabari Zuniga and Blake Cashman come to mind) and on the coaching staff to develop the back-end of the 2021 draft class.
Who is Elijah Moore?
Elijah Moore is one of the most complete receivers in the 2021 draft class. At first, he stands out as a slot guy. He is a smart and skilled route-runner who can work the middle of the field and dominate the quick game. But looking deeper, it’s easy to figure that Moore can do so much more (see what I did there?).
Thanks to his blazing speed and ability to threaten defensive backs deep, he can easily line up outside. He can also be deployed in the backfield—something that may happen even more often in an offense that aims to attack the edges in the ground game.
Overall, Moore is a quick and explosive player who has great hands (only 2% of his targets were dropped in 2020), is a polished route-runner, and is a threat to take the ball to the end zone on every play, which is exactly what the Jets needed.
Fulfilling a need
What goes under the radar is that by adding Moore the Jets addressed a need: the jet-motion, edge-threat guy. And you can’t undervalue how important that type of player is to the current Jets offensive scheme.
Even though Moore has the potential to develop into a lot more than that, I’m betting that his first and foremost impact with the Jets will come via the rushing attack.
The San Francisco 49ers’ usage of Deebo Samuel comes to mind here. Samuel isn’t close to Moore as a route-runner, but he is an impact player on the Niners’ offense even when he doesn’t touch the ball.
And that, I believe, will be the initial role of Moore.
Look at these few reps by Moore in the backfield. You see speed, vision, and one-cut ability. These are skills that the Jets’ wide receiver group lacked and can take the team’s ground game to a whole new level: