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There has been a lot of talk about how the Arizona Cardinals would like Kyler Murray to run less this season. Murray played through an injury the second half of last season and the Cardinals ended up losing five of their final seven games en route to missing the playoffs. The best ability is availability, and a healthy Murray gives Arizona the best chance to win football games.
In order to help Murray, the Cardinals have invested heavily in their pass-catching options.
Prior to 2020, they traded for DeAndre Hopkins. This past offseason, they signed A.J. Green in free agency. Additionally, the team drafted Rondale Moore from Purdue in the second round of the draft. Moore is expected to have an immediate impact, as his preseason over/under receiving yard total at BetMGM is set at 550.5.
Moore checks almost all the boxes
Remember when the Ohio State Buckeyes got shockingly blown out by Purdue in 2018? They refer to that game as the Rondale Moore coming-out party.
At the time, Moore was a freshman. This didn't stop him from posting 12 receptions, 170 yards and two touchdowns. He consistently made plays as the Boilermakers moved the ball up and down the field en route to hanging 49 points on Ohio State.
Breakout age is a metric that tells you how old a college prospect was when he achieved over a 20% share of his team's receiving production. There's a correlation between how long it takes a player to break out in college and their success at the NFL level. Moore's breakout age was 18.2 years old, the best mark of any rookie receiver in this class. It's in the 99th percentile all time.
According to PlayerProfiler, Moore's 40-yard dash ranks in the 96th percentile. His burst score is also in the 96th percentile while his agility score is in the 94th percentile. Moore is an athletic freak, running a 4.32 in his 40-yard dash at his pro day. If you need video evidence of his athleticism, here's Moore's 42.5 inch vertical.
The main concern with Moore is his size. At 5-foot-7, Moore is much shorter than the prototypical NFL wide receiver. However, Moore is an absolute truck. He weighs 180 pounds and has a BMI of 28.2. Moore has been taped squatting 600 pounds. He also put up 24 repetitions on the bench press. He might be shorter, but he has the strength and body type to make up for it.
There's opportunity for Moore
Last season, the Arizona Cardinals had four wide receivers on the field on 20% of their snaps, far and away the highest mark in the league. They had at least three receivers on the field for 67% of their snaps. Kliff Kingsbury is a disciple of the "Air Raid" spread offense, meaning he loves having sets with three or four receivers lined up and exploiting matchups.
DeAndre Hopkins is the clear-cut No. 1 receiver in Arizona. There's no disputing that fact as he's one of the top receivers in the league. He received 160 targets last season and there's little reason to believe that will change.
However, behind Hopkins, the battle for targets is wide open. Larry Fitzgerald has not yet retired, but that looks to be the next step for the legendary receiver. A.J. Green showed signs of a steep decline in Cincinnati last season, and there are questions about how much he has left. Christian Kirk and Andy Isabella have failed to impress in previous opportunities.
Enter Rondale Moore. Moore can be used as an extension of the running game in the screen game. He could work the middle of the field since Arizona doesn't utilize a tight end much in the passing game. His speed makes him a downfield threat. However, Moore's biggest weapon is his ability with the ball in his hands. He projects as a yard-after-catch monster.
Thankfully, it seems like Kingsbury has noticed this. Moore played in the slot on 44 of his 47 preseason snaps — a prime role in the air raid offense. In 47 snaps, Moore was targeted nine times. Kingsbury also made it a point to get the ball in Moore's hands, drawing up three running plays for the wide receiver.
Moore is a physical specimen. Arizona has invested heavily in improving their passing attack and Moore is at the forefront of that investment. He's got a clear path to being the second option on his team and the coach realizes the importance of getting the ball in his hands.
I can see Moore breaking numerous long plays this season, so the 550.5 receiving yard over/under seems low. Anytime he gets the ball, there's a chance he takes it to the house. I'll bet on gamebreaking ability anytime, and Moore has that in spades.
Stats from PFF.com and PlayerProfiler.com