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Top pick D.J. Moore ready to get down to business with Panthers
Maryland receiver goes 24th in NFL Draft
Published Friday, April 27, 2018
by Ashley Mahoney

D.J. Moore was the first receiver taken in the NFL Draft when the Carolina Panthers selected him 24th overall.

D.J. Moore is flexible.

The Carolina Panthers No. 1 draft pick, 24th overall, intends to translate his game from the college level as a wide receiver at Maryland to the NFL as an impact player.

“You just have to be adaptable,” he said.

Moore’s selection—the first receiver taken in the draft—culminates in what he describes as a promise made on his April 10 visit to Charlotte that Carolina would select him.

“I spoke to the head coach [Ron Rivera], the general manager [Marty Hurney], and it was just a sigh of relief, just to be able to get that call,” Moore said. “Once I saw that North Carolina [area] code come up on my phone, it was like, ‘this is the pick.’ They told me when I was on the draft visit that they were going to do it. They kept their promise.”

Moore’s at or near the top in six Maryland receiving categories: First in single-season receptions with 80, third in single-season yards with 1,033 and fourth in single-season touchdown receptions (eight), all in 2017. He is fourth in career touchdown receptions (17), fifth in career catches (146) and sixth in career receiving yards (2,027).

“It feels good to know that what I did in college didn’t go unnoticed to the coaching staff,” Moore said.

Said Hurney: “When you watch tape, he shows he’s got a lot of position flexibility. He can really play all three receiver positions. He’s fast. He’s sudden. He plays with really good play strength. He really fought through. I think they had three different injuries to their starting quarterback, and he played with four different quarterbacks. His mindset and his attitude stayed the same throughout the whole season.”

The 2017 Big Ten Receiver of the Year’s most notable attributes are his ability to catch the ball and work ethic.

“I can catch, right off the bat,” said Moore, who started 25 games over the last two seasons with the Terrapins.

Said Rivera: “He has an opportunity to come in and contribute right away. We traditionally have found ways to play our No. 1 picks. He adds another weapon for us on the offensive side.”

Carolina traded cornerback Daryl Worley to Philadelphia for wide receiver Torrey Smith, a fellow Maryland alumnus. Moore said Smith advised him prior to the draft: “It is a business, but have fun at the same time.”

Rivera and Hurney anticipate Moore to step in at special teams as well. Hurney noted Moore’s ability to break tackles like a running back, making him a versatile option like last year’s top two draft picks, Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel.

“The thing that does stand out probably the most is just his ability to run after the catch,” Hurney said. “When he has the ball in his hands, he turns into a running back. He breaks tackles and big plays. He has the speed to stretch the defense and go deep, runs good routes, and he has a lot of strengths as a receiver.”



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