With a two-time Super Bowl champion, the man behind the Minneapolis Miracle, and another first round pick to add to its resumé, Maryland might as well be considered the new Wide Receiver U.
Even though Darrius Heyward-Bey, Torrey Smith, and Stefon Diggs have already carried the Terps name well in the NFL, D.J. Moore has the potential to be the best of them all, and draft experts agree.
As Moore anticipates his selection on April 26, it’s worth taking a look at how he compares to Maryland’s trio of wide receivers already established in the pros.
The junior receiver had his best season at Maryland under the worst of circumstances. Catching passes from four different quarterbacks at different points in the year, Moore still managed to set a program record with 80 receptions. He also picked 1,033 yards and eight touchdowns, which weren’t single-season records, but it still put his season in some pretty elite company.
Here’s a list of some people with 80 or more receptions, 1000+ receiving yards and eight or more TD catches in a season:
— Terps Watch (@TerpsWatch) November 27, 2017
As for how Moore’s last college season compares with the other pro Terps at wideout, you can examine this table.
How does DJ Moore’s last college season compare to other Terps in the NFL? Glad you asked. pic.twitter.com/cPuUI0aAcG
— Terps Watch (@TerpsWatch) April 6, 2018
Moore has the most receptions of the group and if Maryland had a chance to play a 13th game last season, he likely would have beaten out Smith for receiving yards.
In addition to his on-field performance, Moore separated himself from previous Terps, and the rest of the 2018 receiver class, with his performances at the NFL combine and Maryland Pro Day.
Moore solidified his first round projection in Indianapolis, posting an impressive 4.42 second 40-yard dash. That time, fifth among receivers this year, also beats out Diggs’ 4.43 and Smith’s 4.46.
Heyward-Bey was the only one of the three previous Terps wide receivers to be selected in the first round, with one of the main reasons being his eye-opening 4.30 second 40-yard dash. His speed was irresistible to Al Davis’ Oakland Raiders, who took him with the No. 7 pick in the 2009 draft.
While he hasn’t quite lived up to expectations of being taken before more successful receivers like Michael Crabtree, he’s still managed to appear in 130 NFL games since entering the league.
Moore, on the other hand, didn’t just catch scouts eyes with his 40-yard dash. He showed off his lateral speed with a 4.07 20-yard shuttle, third among all receivers in this class and better than any Terp before him.
Most receptions for a single season in school history.
📺: Path To The Draft pic.twitter.com/tmUTyJfdzX
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) April 4, 2018
Barring something drastic, Moore probably won’t find himself being taken earlier in the draft than Heyward-Bey was back in 2009. However, it looks very likely he’ll come off the board earlier than Smith and Diggs did. Smith was taken in the second round at pick No. 58 by the Baltimore Ravens, while injury concerns played a role in Stefon Diggs falling all the way to No. 146, eventually getting drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the fifth round.
According to draft pundits, Moore is one of the top receivers in the draft class. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay have him as the second receiver off the board behind Alabama’s Calvin Ridley. McShay has Moore going to the Falcons with the 26th pick, and Kiper Jr. has him being taken 29th, joining fellow Terp Yannick Ngakoue on the Jaguars.
Pete Prisco of CBS Sports has Moore as the first pass-catcher taken, going 19th to the Cowboys. The Ravens, who hold the 16th selection this year, are once again in need of receiver help, and a lot of Marylanders are hoping he follows in the footsteps of Smith.
If mock drafts are to be believed, Moore is going to do something that Diggs and Smith weren’t able to to accomplish: get selected in the first round.