Former Carolina Panthers receiver, Steve Smith, has high praise for rookie and first-round selection, D.J. Moore…
As the Carolina Panthers franchise record holder in total touchdowns (67), receptions (836) and yards (12,197) over thirteen years of effort, Steve Smith knows what a worthy successor looks like. His post-draft statement that, “They (Carolina) have never been able to replace me, until today,” analysis about first-round selection D.J. Moore is both succinct and accurate.
That the Panthers haven’t had anyone to replace Smith’s productivity or jolt of offensive energy since he departed for Baltimore after the 2013 season would be a good story to change.
Smith clearly played with a chip on his shoulder, partly because he was regarded as ‘just’ a speed guy and punt returner when drafted in 2001 and considered himself a player capable of being more than a jitterbug returner several times a game. Panthers fans know he turned himself into a high quality receiver fairly quickly, leading the league with 103 receptions during the 2005 season.
His ‘competitive spirit’ was well known, including physical altercations with teammates and maaaany defenders. While that drew considerable attention early, the power he showed in breaking tackles for long gainers made him stand out and a favorite target of every Panthers quarterback.
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That tackle breaking, big play ability Smith was known for is what triggers Panthers fans anticipation about Moore. At 6-foot and 210 pounds, he’s not a little guy — much like some comments Christian McCaffrey gets — and defensively, the problem is getting him on the ground. Moore’s RAC (run after catch) factor is what put him at the top of many GMs lists and what Panthers general manager Marty Hurney calls explosiveness.
Any video you see will entail him breaking arm tackles and/or motoring away from pursuit, showing the shiftiness of a running back. He’ll probably become a sweet target on third-down possession passes or the red zone, especially with his 39-inch vertical.
If there’s any drawback among expert opinions, it’s that Moore’s route running is ‘suspect’ and that he isn’t as precise as necessary to beat NFL coverage. In addition, he is said to be bothered with pressure. An inability to get off the line would be a skill deficiency for slot receivers but Moore was a wide out at Maryland and should eventually play wide again in the future.
Physical superiority often suffices in college and it’s expected he’ll learn how to get loose enough for Cam Newton to find him regularly.