2021 NFL Draft Rookie Profile: Rondale Moore (Fantasy Football)
Welcome to the off-season, Footclan! Draft season is one of the most exciting times of the year as we look forward to a brand new group of players that could change the fantasy landscape. The 2021 class is an extremely talented group, especially at the wide receiver position. And while we were spoiled by several rookie breakout performances from this past season, I do expect there to be several wide receivers from this upcoming class that could make an immediate fantasy impact.
One of those receivers is Rondale Moore, wide receiver for the Purdue Boilermakers. Considered by many as one of the most elusive and electric receivers in this class, Moore profiles as a true swiss army knife for whichever team is fortunate enough to land him in this year’s draft.
Let’s dive into some of his film, college metrics, and production profile to assess how successful Moore can be at the next level.
Editors Note: This article is part of our Rookie Profile series going on until the 2021 NFL Draft. For more on each rookie, check out Andy, Mike, and Jason’s exclusive rookie rankings and production profiles found only in the Dynasty Pass, part of the brand-new UDK+ for 2021.
College Production Profile
Rondale Moore played three years at Purdue, with the majority of his production coming in his freshman year. As a true freshman, he would lead the Big Ten in receiving yards (1,258), receiving touchdowns (12), and receptions (114) on an impressive 37% dominator rating. He would conclude his freshman year being honored as an All-American receiver.
What makes his production profile so uniquely impressive is how early he broke out in his short college career. With a breakout age of 18.2, per PlayerProfiler, Moore ranks in the 99th percentile among all college receivers. You will notice, however, that his final two years were cut short, mainly due to injuries. In his 2019 season, he was on his way to another impressive year until a hamstring injury in week 4 kept him sidelined for the rest of the year. In 2020, we were unsure if Moore would even participate in the CFB season due to COVID-19. After initially opting out, he made his highly anticipated season debut against Minnesota where he compiled 15 (!!) receptions, 136 total yards, and one rushing touchdown. That stat line alone should give you an idea of Moore’s versatility. Unfortunately, we would only see him play for 3 games that season, finishing his college career with 1,915 receiving yards, 178 receptions, 17 total touchdowns and a 29% dominator rating.
40-yard dash (HS)
Rondale Moore tested very well coming out of Trinity High School in Kentucky, scoring one of the best 40-yard dashes and vertical jumps in his recruiting class (per ESPN). And while these numbers are slightly outdated, I fully expect Moore to test similarly at his pro day prior to the draft. According to ESPN, Moore currently measures in at 5’9” and 180 lbs, with a BMI of 27.4. While his height may be a slight concern, Moore plays a lot bigger than his size. His contact absorption and balance is what sets him apart from some of the other receivers in this class, making him a threat to score whenever he catches the ball. And if you need more evidence as to what he is capable of, take a look at this video of an 18-year old Rondale Moore squatting 600 (yes, 600) lbs at Purdue. In short, Moore has a rare blend of speed, deceptive strength, and quickness – profiling as one of the more athletic receivers in this class.
What’s on Tape
If you followed along with my weekly Dynasty Report, you might already be familiar with my film-evaluation process. In short, I try to watch 4 to 6 games per player, analyzing every snap in each of those games. For wide receivers, I mainly focus on route running, release, athletic ability, hands, and their performance against various defensive coverages (man, press, and zone).
Let’s dive into Rondale Moore’s tape and analyze what makes him such an intriguing prospect at the next level.
Games Viewed: Ohio State (2018), Boston College (2018), Nevada (2019), Vanderbilt (2019), Minnesota (2020)
1. Moore was a versatile weapon for Purdue, lining up all over the field.
“Versatile” is the first word that comes to mind when trying to describe Rondale Moore. In his three-year collegiate career, he lined up all over the field for the Boilermakers. Despite being labeled as a slot receiver, Purdue showcased his versatility by lining him up outside and even in the backfield. In addition, he was often used on jet sweeps, reverse plays, and WR screens. This is where Moore thrived the most – quick passes in the open field where he can create yards after the catch. Simply put, if you get the ball in his hands, expect Moore to generate a positive play more often than not.
Below is a perfect example of Moore’s versatility. Using his vision and acceleration, he takes a short pass for a significant gain against Minnesota. Moore was never rattled or rushed at any point during this play. Instead, he used his patience and elite change-of-direction to cut up the field once he saw the opening.
2. Moore possesses outstanding contact balance, and has the ability to break or evade a tackle on any given play.
Oftentimes, Moore would take a play that should have resulted in a short or negative gain and somehow create positive yardage. That’s because Moore is very difficult to tackle in the open field. His impressive ability to vary his speed at the right moment is what makes him so elusive with the ball in his hands. With his elite change-of-direction, even just a simple hesitation move can freeze the defender and result in more yards. And if a defender manages to catch up to him, an arm tackle would rarely take him down. Because of his exceptional contact balance, Moore will frequently shed tackles in the open field to gain additional yards.
The following play is one of my absolute favorites. He corals another short pass and uses his speed to outrun the first defender. And just when Ohio State thought they had him tackled, he used his lower body strength to plow through the defender, break the tackle, and score a touchdown. Keep in mind he was doing this as a true freshman against a competitive team in Ohio State.
3. Moore is an exceptional route runner, displaying excellent speed and quickness at the line of scrimmage and at the top of his routes.
Moore’s burst and quickness also comes in handy when executing various routes. Not only is he able to shake defenders with a variety of stutter steps, jabs, and hesitation moves at the line, Moore is also exceptional at executing routes further down the field. His route running is crisp and sharp, which allows him to gain separation fairly easily. Below is a great example of his burst at the line of scrimmage. Lined up outside and facing tight coverage from the DB, Moore used a quick stutter move before the slant route to create separation. As soon as the defender turned his hip to the sideline, Moore accelerated towards the middle for an easy first down.
What’s Not on Tape
1. At times, Moore displayed poor decision making and concentration, especially early in his career.
I mainly noticed this early on in his career as a freshman. There were a few times when he would drop a simple shovel or screen pass, even with no defender around him. There was even a play against Ohio State in 2018 where he absolutely demolished a defender with his release but dropped a pass that hit him right in his hands. Also, while Moore is an electric returner, I did see a few glimpses of poor decision making when returning punts and kickoffs. At times, he would make the wrong decision, either returning the punt when there was no play to be made or letting the ball go when he should have called for a fair catch. In his defense, the impressive and positive plays in his career far outweigh the few negative ones that I saw on tape. However, as a young receiver in the NFL, you have to show your quarterback and coaches that you can be relied upon. He has to make sure to not repeat those mistakes in his rookie year, otherwise, it could affect his playing time.
2. Though very rare, there were a couple of plays where Moore would try to do too much instead of simply taking the yards in front of him.
While Moore will more often than not create yards with his athletic ability, there were one or two plays where he relied on his athleticism a little too much instead of taking the yards given to him. One specific play that comes to mind was a screen pass against Boston College, where he tried to make a big play instead of driving forward and settling for 8 yards. Instead, the play netted only 5 yards as he tried to evade additional tackles moving backward in the process. While his mindset of going after the big play every single time is commendable, he has to understand when to simply take the yards that the defense gives him.
2021 Fantasy Outlook
Rondale Moore is clearly one of the most intriguing prospects in this loaded 2021 WR class. While he does not have the alpha receiver build of a Ja’Marr Chase or Rashod Bateman, Moore can be just as productive as a swiss army knife for a modern NFL offense. For fantasy purposes, I envision Moore as a high-floor PPR slot receiver that will be used in a multitude of ways at the next level.
In dynasty rookie drafts, Moore will likely be drafted in the mid-to-late first round, behind the likes of Ja’Marr Chase and Devonta Smith. In SuperFlex leagues, I could see him dropping even further with several QBs likely being taken ahead of him. For redraft leagues, Moore’s immediate production likely depends on his landing spot and draft capital. If he is drafted in the first round by a team willing to use him similar to his role at Purdue, I could see him producing immediately for fantasy managers. And assuming his hamstring injury is truly behind him, Moore’s elite athleticism will make him one of the most exciting players to watch in the NFL, regardless of where he lands.