Former Missouri wide receiver T.J. Moe isn't the biggest name entering the draft at the position, but he was the best target for quarterback Blaine Gabbert and his successor, James Franklin, before making the leap to the NFL draft.
Moe electrified the scouting combine with his outstanding numbers, which in theory should translate into a difference on the field at the professional level.
Does Moe have what it takes to succeed in the NFL? Can he work around his negatives to avoid going undrafted? Read on to find out.
|+ Sure hands, massive catch radius.||- Smaller frame at 6'0" and 204 pounds.|
|+ Quick release.||- Dip in production over last two seasons.|
|+ Deceptive agility to break away from defenders.||- Limited to slot at next level.|
|+ Physical enough to go over middle.|
Moe is a slot receiver in the utmost sense who draws comparisons to Wes Welker and Danny Amendola thanks to his quick feet and versatility.
At 6'0" and 204 pounds, Moe is much heavier than the aforementioned receivers who have made a living in the slot in the NFL. This allows him to make the tough catches over the middle, as well as break away for massive gains.
Moe was a dual-threat quarterback in high school and compiled 61 total touchdowns. This allows him to find holes in the defense and be on the same page as his quarterback with relative ease.
He also doubles as an effective kick and punt returner.
Moe has a proven track record as a locker-room leader and as someone dedicated to his craft. He works relentlessly to improve on the field and off, and hasn't had any off-field issues.
Outside of the obvious, Moe was named a team captain last year in his senior season and won Big 12 team academic awards.
Moe operated out of the slot at Missouri and flourished in 2010 with Blaine Gabbert under center, as he recorded 1,045 yards receiving and scored six touchdowns.
Gabbert left for the pros, and Moe's statistical output fell as a result the next two seasons. James Franklin took over what was a more run-oriented offense, so Moe saw fewer balls thrown his way.
Outside of being reliable and having the potential for the big play, Moe was also utilized in trick plays and formations with his high school experience as a quarterback.
Moe possesses a nimble release at the line, which allows him to create separation quickly.
Thanks to his impressive combination of weight and agility, Moe is able to win battles at the line while being pressed. He won't win every battle outright, but his ability to shake free and get down the field is more than what you would expect for a man operating out of the slot.
A major strength for Moe is tracking the ball and bringing it in while using his body to shield defenders from the ball.
Moe has solid arm length, which allows him to adjust and make the tough catches before defensive backs can react. His catch radius is quite large, and most of the time he is able to attack the ball at its highest point.
Another noteworthy point for Moe is his refined ability to run routes. Again, his experience as a quarterback gives him a massive advantage in this area when compared to other prospects.
Moe isn't the most explosive, but he shows quality speed out of his breaks, which in turn causes defensive backs to play him honest or risk him burning them deep.
As mentioned, Moe is physical across the middle and creates enough separation at most depths to give his quarterback a quality passing lane.
Moe has reliable hands, in large part because he has a pair of the largest in this year's draft class. He measured in at 9 7/8" at the scouting combine.
Where Moe can struggle is his ability to catch the football with his body rather than his hands. He has a tendency to bring the ball into his body rather than catch it with his hands first. It's a slight issue, and one that can be addressed at the next level.
Run After Catch
If there's an underrated element to Moe's game, it's his run-after-the-catch ability. His ability to box defenders out with his compact frame and then use his agility to break away is noteworthy.
At Missouri, Moe did not get to flash this ability much, but with an effective quarterback in the right offense at the next level, it is something that should happen more often.
Moe is not difficult to bring down in the open field, but he does have favorable size when matched up against defensive backs.
Moe has solid technique as a blocker and uses his strong frame to push defenders back in a hurry.
There's not a lack of strength in this area for Moe—he registered 26 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press at the scouting combine, which was the most for any at the position.
He's not going to run over defensive backs outright, but Moe will shock at the next level and give teams more reason to keep him in on every down.
Future Role/Scheme Versatility
Where do you see Moe being selected?
While strictly limited to the slot at the next level, Moe could prove to be an every-down player thanks to his excellent combination of agility and strength.
In fact, Moe could turn out to be one of the steals of the draft. He's a prototypical slot receiver who can make plays in any situation, can be used in trick packages, can contribute on special teams and is reliable enough to develop into an Amendola- or Welker-type player.
Moe is flying under the radar thanks to a quite collegiate career, but when actually given a talented quarterback in a pass-heavy offense, he's more than impressed.
Draft Projection: Round 5-7.
Follow me on Twitter for more NFL news and analysis.