Purdue WR Rondale Moore runs blazing 4.29 unofficial 40-yard dash at pro day

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Pat Leonard, New York Daily News
·5 min read
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Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore is the kind of tantalizing but challenging prospect evaluation that will make this year’s NFL Draft fascinating.

Moore, 20, was timed running a blazing 4.29 unofficial 40-yard dash at the Boilermakers’ pro day on Tuesday and posted a 42.5 vertical jump. But he only measured 5-foot-7, per Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy — two full inches below his listed 5-9 height.

Moore rattled off 1,471 yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns on 135 touches as a dynamic freshman in 2018. But he has played in only seven football games the past two years.

Two hamstring injuries limited him to four games in 2019 and to three of Purdue’s six games in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

So what is an NFL GM supposed to make of an undersized receiver who hasn’t been on the field much since 2018 but can run like the wind, play running back, receiver and returner, and possibly be his new team’s version of the Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill?

“I’m kind of like an underdog,” Moore told the 2 for 1 Drafts Podcast recently. “And that makes my stomach rumble. So I’m excited.”

The Giants are one of many NFL teams who could take advantage of this year’s strong wide receiver draft to add more weapons, even after signing the Lions’ Kenny Golladay to a monster free agent deal.

All of the focus has been on their No. 11 pick and the top four of LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase, Florida tight end Kyle Pitts and Alabama studs DeVonta Smith (Heisman Trophy winner) and Jaylen Waddle. But there will be plenty of talented skill players deep into the second and third rounds of this draft who can help an offense go.

Moore is a player being projected anywhere from the late-first round to the third round, depending on who you’re talking to.

If the Giants draft a non-receiver at No. 11, this class is loaded with depth and talent at wideout they could pick off in later rounds such as Moore, LSU’s Terrace Marshall, Jr., Ole Miss’ Elijah Moore, and Senior Bowl standouts D’Wayne Eskridge (Western Michigan), Tylan Wallace (Oklahoma State) and Desmond Fitzpatrick (Louisville).

Frankly, I don’t think the Giants would be the team willing to take a risk on a player like Moore who has played so little football in the past couple years. Plus, the Giants already have a slot receiver in Sterling Shepard, at the position where Moore directly projects as a pro.

Still, his versatility, his ability to move between running back and receiver, his dangerous skills taking reverses and jet sweeps around the edge, could add unpredictability and explosiveness to any offense — not to mention he is built like a tank and can also take punts to the house.

Maybe a team like the Chiefs, Rams or 49ers would find the most creative ways to get the most out of Moore. Or the Carolina Panthers, after losing multi-faceted weapon Curtis Samuel to Washington in free agency, could try and replace that skill set by plucking Moore in the early second round.

No doubt the Giants would be a smart enough team to pluck any elite-level talent who falls down the draft board at too great a value to pass up. And Gettleman actually drafted Samuel in Carolina with a 2017 second-round pick.

Either way, Moore projects as a unique asset and also comes with a chip on his shoulder. Here are some scouting reports to reflect how experts view the Purdue speedster:

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Emory Hunt, Football Gameplan: No. 9 slot receiver. So dynamic with the football in his hands, He has outstanding field vision in that regard. He legit can find opportunities anywhere. Versatile. Day One punt returner. Warrants at least 5-6 carries per game. in addition to his receiver duties. Not much of a route runner. Really has to work on that area of his game.

Dane Brugler, The Athletic: No. 7 wide receiver. Moore is unpolished in areas and needs to stay on the field, but his explosive lower body, play strength and competitive edge are playmaking ingredients. He projects as a starting NFL slot receiver who can be as impactful as his workload.

Tony Pauline, Pro Football Network: Moore is a playmaking receiver, return specialist, and reverse runner, who is a threat to take it the distance any time the ball is in his hands. The initial quickness he shows the first 2-3 yards when the ball is in his hands is unparalleled and has opponents playing back on their heels.

Matt Miller, The Draft Scout: No. 9 wide receiver, No. 66 overall prospect. Moore is no doubt dynamic. He’s a gifted return man, a dangerous ball-carrier and a monster with the ball in his hands post-catch. But in conversations with scouts around the league, he’s seeing round three grades most commonly. Mocked No. 50 overall to the Dolphins.

Pro Football Focus: No. 5 wide receiver, No. 21 overall prospect. Comp: Steve Smith Sr. Moore never got a chance to prove he can win as an outside receiver, but he’s shown more than enough from the slot to be a first-rounder. He led all receivers in broken tackles as a freshman in 2018.