It has been two years since a Cincinnati Bearcat was taken in the NFL Draft with current Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, picked in the 2013 draft, being the most recent. Prior to Kelce's selection, UC-products had their name called in every draft since 2006.
Well, expect the Bearcats to get back on the board with wide receiver Chris Moore in this year's NFL Draft.
A big receiver, with good speed and even bigger-play potential, Moore has the makings of a developmental mid-late round pick and should be the player to end Cincinnati's drought.
Moore was considered a top performer at the NFL Scouting Combine in both the broad jump and the 3-cone drill for wide receivers, finishing third and fifth, respectively. While Moore doesn't necessarily bring unique athleticism to the table by NFL standards, his numbers fall in line as a player with some upside. In particular, his impressive 3-cone drill time demonstrates agility and an ability to change directions quickly, which is essential for incoming receivers.
Below you will find a cut-up from DraftBreakdown.com of Moore's game against Houston from this past season. It should offer a decent look at Moore as a prospect. Moore reeled in six catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns against the Cougars with a couple of those receptions coming against Houston's William Jackson III, who is also in this year's draft. More video of Moore can be found here.
- Moore has good size for the position. He isn't necessarily a matchup nightmare at 6-foot-1, but does have a height advantage over most corners he will play. He uses his size well when extending for the catch and when he has the ball in his hands.
- He's a big-play threat. He finds a way to take the top off the defense and get behind defenders deep with his long strides. Just watch any highlight tape of his or find the tape on Moore's three reception, 221-yard, three touchdown game against Ohio State in 2014.
- He does a good job finding the ball in the air and catches the ball well with his hands when in traffic (still lets the ball into his body too often though). He times his jump well on the jump-ball opportunities.
- Has good body control. Whether it's making an adjustment with the ball in the air or getting his feet down, he has a good understanding of how to adjust in order to make the catch.
- He's tough and is willing to go into the middle of the field for the tough catches. Makes a couple of those tough catches in the Houston video above.
- A bit of a "one-trick-pony." At least that's the perception. Moore has been primarily a big-play receiver with the ability to get up and bring down deep passes or get behind the defense, but you don't see a lot of tape running the full route-tree.
- He isn't particularly flexible in his hips which brings to question his ability to quickly make cuts in and out of breaks at the NFL-level. With his speed advantage being minimized at the pro level, his ability to learn and run routes precisely will determine his NFL longevity.
- Route-running leaves a little to be desired. He has the straight-line speed routes, but others don't have the sharpness you'd hope for at this level.
- Body catching is a bit of a concern. Has shown the ability to fight for contested throws by catching with his hands, but he tends to rely on using his body too often.
- For a speed, deep-play receiver, the 4.53 second 40-yard dash time wasn't what he was looking for at the Scouting Combine. He plays faster than he was timed, but it demonstrates just how important it will be for Moore to develop into a complete receiver. He's fast, but not fast enough to live off raw athleticism.
Moore has visited all of the following, according to WalterFootball.com.
Despite Carolina's success last season with a Super Bowl visit, the Panthers still need to bulk up a receiving core that looked overmatched in the title game. Moore isn't an immediate fix and offers more long-term value, but could be a fit here.
The Bengals need some receiver help and Moore does offer some upside at his size and big-play ability. Cincinnati will likely be addressing the receiver position early in the draft, but Moore could be a second or even third wideout taken in the later rounds for the Bengals.
Another team with a need. The Lions are replacing Calvin Johnson and need to bring in fresh faces to build up depth and competition heading into fall camp. Moore offers size and the deep-play ability to possibly fit in with Golden Tate and newly-aquired Marvin Jones.
San Diego Chargers
The Chargers have had injury issues at receiver for what seems like years now and is yet another team looking to create some competition in fall camp. Moore could offer a different type of weapon for Philip Rivers in the passing game to pair with Steve Johnson, Keenan Allen and Antonio Gates.
Outlook & Round Projection
Moore has a good chance of being drafted this year, but where is still very much in the air. If a team falls in love with his size and ability to get behind defenses, he could go as high as the fourth round, or he could drop into the later rounds.
Regardless, Moore will likely require a year or two of development with an NFL organization before he can contribute significantly on game day. The athleticism is there to be a solid player, but he needs refining at the receiver position. He could find a more immediate spot on special teams though. Still, receivers are a hot commodity come the NFL Draft because you can't have enough of them in today's pass-happy NFL and Moore is still an intriguing prospect that's worth a flier in the mid-late rounds.
Projection: 5th-6th Round