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Cardinals Draft Wide Receiver Rondale Moore In Second Round

Slot pass catcher provides serious speed, return game to offense

The Cardinals selected Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore (4) in the second round of the NFL draft on Friday.
The Cardinals selected Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore (4) in the second round of the NFL draft on Friday.

Rondale Moore is short, but he's not small, Cardinals GM Steve Keim said, and if someone wanted to see tangible evidence of that, just look back to a single play against Ohio State in 2018.

That year Moore, the Purdue wide receiver that the Cards took with their second-round pick Friday night, took a short pass and ran through a handful of the second-ranked Buckeyes defenders en route to a 43-yard touchdown in the Boilermakers' upset win.

"I'm just a tough ballplayer, man," Moore said during his Zoom press conference. "For me, it's trying to make a play for a team and ultimately score a touchdown. That's just my mindset."

As the NFC West made a mini-run on mini-receivers in the second round – the Cards took the 5-foot-7, 181-pound Moore, the Seahawks took 5-9, 190-pound D'Wayne Eskridge and the Rams selected 5-9, 155-pound Tutu Atwell – the newest addition to the Cards' wideout room had a game that hopefully will outsize his body.

"When you see his body type, you see a guy who is on the shorter end but who is really thick and muscled up," Keim said, comparing Moore's measurables to Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill.

Certainly, Moore has a long way to duplicate Hill's success, but it is the type of player coach Kliff Kingsbury has craved. Moore ran a 4.29 40 at his pro day, providing significant speed (he played the slot mostly in college, but Moore said he is comfortable inside and out and the Cardinals will use him both places.)

But wait, there's more from Moore. He can return kickoffs and punts. He can be used in the short passing game, and if you need him on a jet sweep or a toss sweep, he has done all of that too.

"We're going to use him as many ways as we can," Kingsbury said, adding that he thinks Moore's transition into his system will be "seamless" after playing in something similar at Purdue.

The Cardinals have made a second-round wide receiver a pattern over the past few years. Christian Kirkand Andy Isabella were also second-round selections.

Moore's selection, however, may signal the end of Isabella's push for regular playing time. They fit essentially the same role, a smaller speed receiver. Moore's selection also further sparks speculation that Larry Fitzgerald, who has yet to say if he is going to play in 2021 or retire, will choose the latter.

DeAndre Hopkins is the No. 1, and A.J. Green will be the starter on the other side. Kirk should be the No. 3, but Moore "jumps right into the middle" of the mix, Kingsbury said. Kingsbury didn't get specific, only that he remains confident in the entirety of the room, which includes Isabella and KeeSean Johnson.

Moore said he saw the Cardinals as a potential landing spot, saying he has a "unique skillset." Jumping into the Cardinals' offense?

"I think it'll be really electric," Moore said.

He initially opted out of the 2020 season because of COVID, but changed his mind and played in three games after the Big 10 decided to play football during the pandemic. A hamstring injury also limited him to four games as a sophomore. As a freshman in 2018, however, Moore was the Big 10 receiver of the year, piling up 114 catches for 1,258 yards, 213 yards rushing on 21 attempts and 14 touchdowns, all while returning punts and kickoffs.

The time lost isn't a concern, not for Moore or Keim. They're counting on plays like Moore had against Ohio State once upon a time.

"He's a receiver that plays like a defensive player," Keim said. "He plays angry."

Images of Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore, who the Cardinals selected with the No. 49 overall pick in the draft.

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