It wasn’t surprising when the Carolina Panthers pulled former Maryland football wide receiver DJ Moore to the side of his Pro Day workout on Wednesday and asked him to run additional routes.
Moore was the main attraction at the showcase. With the 2018 NFL Draft about a month away, he’s already met with more than 20 teams and, after finishing up with the Panthers, he greeted a mass of reporters and cameras.
The mild-mannered Philadelphia native, whom many experts consider a first-round pick, is still getting used to the wave of attention. With fans of NFL teams bombarding him with Twitter messages and front-office executives testing his resolve with bizarre interview techniques, he feels his laid-back personality has helped him manage pressure and make a positive impression on evaluators.
“Some of [the interviews] was funny, some of them was serious, but for the most part I made them funny,” Moore said. “They tried to get to me but I don’t really get unsettled.”
One team asked Moore if he would rather be a cat or a dog. Another showed him film of on-field mistakes he made with Maryland to see how he would react. Others gave him one minute to memorize plays.
Once, an interviewer asked him to recite the alphabet and count at the same time.
“I didn’t too well on that,” Moore said with a smile.
In his final season with Maryland, Moore led the Big Ten in receptions (80) and receiving yards (1,033). He finished his career with a catch in 33 consecutive games.
His success came in part from his relentless drive in practice, which former Terps defensive back and fellow draft hopeful J.C. Jackson said helped him grow as a player. As Maryland’s top cornerback last year, Jackson often defended Moore in training.
“He made me who I am today,” Jackson said. “We made each other better. Every day in practice, DJ and I we were going at it. I would call him out and he would call me out and we would compete.”
Moore hopes to show that dedication to scouts when he visits teams for private workouts in the coming weeks and build on the success he believes he’s had during interviews.
While he’s unsure where he’ll be picked in the draft next month, the All-Big Ten First Team honoree is excited by the buzz he’s generated since announcing he’d forgo his senior year in College Park to play in the NFL.
But Moore is trying not to let the positive momentum affect the way he carries himself, or alter the training dedication that helped him reach this point.
“On the inside it feels great,” Moore said, “but on the outside you still have to be humble and continue to work hard on and off the field just to get better at your craft.”