Last week at the quasi-State of the Ravens, owner Steve Bisciotti was very adamant about letting fans know there would be a high emphasis placed on improving the offense this offseason, through free agency and the draft. With four picks in the first three round (16, 52, 83, and a projected third-round comp. pick), it would not be shocking to see all four of those picks be offensive skill players, and at least two being wide receivers.
While many fans undoubtedly want to see the Ravens take a WR with their first pick, Assistant G.M. Eric DeCosta had this to say:
“This year, I think the strength of the draft at the wideout position is there might be eight or nine guys that you feel comfortable taking in the second and third rounds.”
So by now, everyone knows the names Calvin Ridley, James Washington, Christian Kirk, and Courtland Sutton. There is however one wide receiver who I’ve not heard talked about much, but who could be sitting there staring the Ravens in the face at pick 52 or even at 83!
This receiver led his Power Five conference in receptions (80) and yards (1,033) and finished tied for fourth in touchdowns (8), earning him conference wide receiver of the year, all while having five different quarterbacks throwing him the ball. This past year alone, he had eight games with seven or more catches, nine games of 75 or more yards and averaged seven catches for 86 yards while facing the nation’s toughest schedule. He finished off his impressive college career with 146 receptions for 2,027 yards and 17 touchdowns, playing with nine different quarterbacks, none of whom have or will stiff the NFL. The best part for the Ravens is he has played the past three years just 45 minutes away from Owings Mills.
He is none other than University of Maryland’s D.J. Moore.
What is impressive about Moore is he put up those kind of numbers with not much around him. Maryland has had a good run game the past two years, which makes defenses stay honest, but there was no other threat in the passing game. The next closest receiver to Moore had 553 yards (480 less than Moore) and the tight ends combined for a mere five catches(!). It is even more impressive considering Max Bortenschlager started at quarterback most of the 2017 season.
The biggest knock on Moore may be his height. Listed at 5’11” and 215lbs, he does not have the prototypical height that most look for now in wide receivers. Some draft evaluators, of course, will argue that height is an overrated aspect in judging wide receivers.
What Moore brings to the table is a sure-handed receiver who is fast off the line of scrimmage and in and out of cuts. He can blow the top off of defenses and run the underneath routes. He creates space against corners and has very good hands.
Does that sound like anyone currently on the Ravens roster?
Some will question how he runs the route tree because it was limited at Maryland, but that could very well be due to the fact the Terps tried to get the ball to him in any way possible.
Bottom line is, Moore is a complete receiver who will do very well at the next level. Maybe if he went to a school that had a high powered offense and was featured more on ESPN, CBS, or ABC, you would hear his name mentioned more. While he may never develop into a true number one receiver by NFL standards, he will be a solid WR2 for the foreseeable future.
He would come in day one and have an immediate impact on the Ravens and probably be their best receiver. They have had three years to drive down 295 on Saturdays to watch him play – and hopefully they did.
Currently, Moore is projected as a mid/late-second rounder to a mid-third rounder.
That could all change at the combine. If Moore tests well, look for his name to start being mentioned as a top five player in the wide receiver group. Last year on Day 2 of the draft, the Ravens let both JuJu Smith-Schuster and Cooper Kupp slip through their hands. That cannot be the case in 2018.
The Ravens need help in the passing game and Moore would be a welcome addition. Ozzie has had success drafting receivers from Maryland in the past, with Jermaine Lewis and Torrey Smith both having productive careers in purple.
If Steve Bisciotti truly wants to improve the offense, a key contributor could be this former Terrapin.