NFL Draft coverage too often focuses on what a player can’t do rather than what he does and how valuable that can be to a team. That’s the thought process that is causing Western Michigan wide receiver Skyy Moore to remain extremely underrated as we count down to the draft.
Moore led the nation last season in overall PFF grade (91.8), just ahead of Drake London and Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who could well prove to be the best Ohio State receiver on that team. Moore had almost 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns, catching 94 passes in 12 games.
He dominated college football last season but still ranks just 50th on the consensus draft board, the ninth-best receiver in the draft, and might be held in even lower esteem by NFL teams.
Moore is the victim of not being a prototypical X-receiver, which is still seen as the only kind of receiver worthy of a high draft pick. The best receivers in the NFL have the ability to play that X-receiver position, typically dealing with the most press-man coverage and isolated on the line of scrimmage, but good offenses are loaded with options, and the other receiving positions are more valuable than ever.
We shouldn’t be too quick to write off Moore’s capacity to play in the X role, even if it will likely never be his full-time responsibility. Dane Brugler’s Draft Guide concludes his analysis on Moore with the following line: “He projects best as an NFL slot receiver.” His prospect profile on NFL.com similarly labels Moore a slot player at the next level, but he has shown a consistent ability to win in the ways outside receivers need to win despite his size.
College football doesn’t use nearly as much press coverage as the NFL, so it can be difficult to look at how players performed against it. But Moore actually saw a reasonable volume of press coverage. He had a top-five PFF receiving grade in this draft class against press coverage in 2021, generating over 3.5 yards per route run on those plays. Generally, receivers that play the X-position have height and length on their side, but that’s because those are tools that typically help defeat press coverage. Quickness, footwork and expertise in releases off the line of scrimmage also help defeat it, and Moore has all of those in abundance.