If the lockout was supposed to make life all the more difficult for NFL rookies last season then Denarius Moore never got the memo. From his first practice as a Raider it became very obvious that the silver and black scouting department had unearthed a diamond in the rough. Armchair scouts such as myself only saw a deep threat in Moore a 5th round pick out of Tennessee that had true Raider speed. Come to find out he’s a true playmaker.
While he was a preseason sensation it only took Moore two weeks of regular season football to announce himself to the rest of the league. His Week 2 performance against the Buffalo Bills was beyond eye-opening, it was an absolute revelation. Of course it wouldn’t be until his abuse of San Diego in Week 10 that Moore would surpass the 100-yard receiving barrier again. But that is by no means any indication of his consistency.
Injuries certainly played a large role in why Moore was unable to secure a consistent role. He would go on to start 10 of the 13 games he played as a rookie including 3 100-yard games, 6 total touchdowns and an astounding average of just under 19 yards a catch.
But the stats fail to tell the whole story. His playmaking ability is that of a seasoned vet. Moore made dazzling catch after dazzling catch. He fights for the ball in traffic, runs great routes and is an all-around weapon that can become one of the game’s most dynamic players.
Of course all of his potential means nothing if the Raiders can’t put together a game plan that gets the most of Moore. Last season he cemented himself as a starter yet his production varied week-in and week-out. Some of that is due to injury but most of all it stems from the inconsistent nature of Oakland’s passing game.
The good news is Carson Palmer has a full summer with his new offense and his receivers. The hope is that the results will come quickly and often.
Moore made a very quick adjustment to the league last season but what makes this professional football is the competition adjusts to you. If he can stay hungry, healthy and humble there is no reason why Denarius Moore can’t be a 1,000-yard receiver approaching double-digit TD production.