The New York Jets’ Director of Football Analytics ranked Ole Miss wide receiver Elijah Moore 16th overall in the 2021 NFL draft player pool.
The New York Jets may have snagged Elijah Moore in the early second round of the 2021 NFL draft, but that doesn’t mean he should have been there for the taking.
Brian Shields, the Jets director of football analytics, recently dropped some interesting knowledge on the organization’s new docuseries, Flight 2021. Apparently, the football analytics department had the Ole Miss product ranked 16th overall heading into the draft.
“We thought he was the 16th player in the entire draft,” Shields said in Episode 4 of Flight 2021. “A few things that stood out about him … his ability to get open—we thought he was one of the best in the country at creating separation. Another thing that stood out is, over the last two years, he’s caught over 60 percent of contested catch opportunities.”
Moore, 21, led the nation in yards per game last season (149.125). Better than statistics are his raw traits and attention to detail, as the kid constantly showcased it at rookie minicamp, OTAs and mandatory minicamp this spring.
Despite solid coverage from second-year cornerback Bryce Hall, Moore continuously beat him near the sideline. On one particular route down the sideline, Moore ensured that his stem was far enough inside in order to give quarterback Zach Wilson ample room near the sideline to deliver a perfect outside-shoulder placement.
Moore beat Hall earlier in the spring on another sideline-type play in which he made sure not to create separation until that last moment. It was as if he understood he could create separation at any point, but realized doing so at the very last moment was the best move for his quarterback.
Moore tallied up 1,193 yards and eight scores on 86 receptions in just eight games for Ole Miss last season. After an excellent showing this spring, he’ll enter training camp battling for a top-three spot in the Jets lineup.
Elijah Moore is the real deal. Despite his position being a tough one to adapt to at the professional level, this kid is the safest bet of all Jets rookies to turn out a brilliant NFL career (save for Alijah Vera-Tucker).
The Jets have an embraced analytics. The surprising benefit from analytics is that it brings scouting & coaches together. Promotes effective discussions and gets everyone on the same page.