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NFL Draft

Purdue WR Rondale Moore Discusses 2020 Outlook Post-Injury

  • The Draft Network
  • June 19, 2020
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Rondale Moore is once again trying to take down another program record.

Bursting onto the scene as a standout freshman, Moore accumulated 114 catches for 1,258 yards and 14 touchdowns. It was a record-breaking season, and he went on to set new program marks in all-purpose yards in a season (2,215), all-purpose yards in a game (313), and tied the record for 100-yard receiving games (seven).

After a freshman season that couldn't have gone any better, he received his first dose of adversity during the fourth game of his sophomore year. Battling a hamstring injury already, he tweaked an already ailing pull and it resulted in him being sidelined for the remainder of the 2019 season.

Searching to return to his freshman season form, now that he's draft-eligible, all eyes will be on the star slot receiver as he looks to regain his early career luster. Purdue hasn't had a first-round selection since Ryan Kerrigan was taken with the No. 16 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Will the young receiver end that streak?

Moore, the next player in my prospect microscope series, sat down with me to discuss his journey heading into a crucial junior year. 

Scouts Take on Moore: He's an impressively built player. Thick and low to the ground, but shifty. When you watch him, his strength and compact frame hold true to his game. Although Purdue primarily uses him underneath, he shows the speed to run past guys. Where he's special though is his wiggle and making people miss in space. His C.O.D. (change of direction) is outstanding and he's a handful in the slot. Not quite as polished as a route runner, but I see a little bit of Cooks (Brandin) in him. If he shows he can play near the level he did a few years ago, he'll have chance to be drafted in a similar range. There will be someone comfortable with his size and upside." -- AFC West scout

The following transcript has been edited for clarity.

Question: Let's go all the way back to your younger days and childhood. How did you get involved with the game?

Moore: I started with flag football through a YMCA program. My mom then transitioned me to little league then tackle football. I was there for two years then we moved to Louisville, Kentucky where I played for a team called the Jaguars. Played well there and then obviously played in middle school and now here I am today. How I really got started was through my cousins and everyone else around me. I really just wanted to look up to those guys and do what they were doing. 

Q: You started your career at New Albany High School and then transferred to Trinity High School. What went behind that decision and what did you learn at both stops?

M: After winning a state championship, I knew that I had to make a vital decision that would impact me for the rest of my life. I had to go somewhere that benefited me and football, which is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. The academics, people I'd be surrounded by and the program there. That's the main reasoning behind it. 

Q: You were originally committed to Texas, but opted to go to Purdue. What was the reasoning behind that?

M: A big reason in the end came to where I felt the most comfortable. A thing that's really important to me is family, and relationships, so I wanted my family to be able to come watch me play at basically every game, not have to travel too far. We don't have the funds for them to just hop on a plane and be able to come down to every game, so that was big and went into my final decision. Secondly, I had Jeff Brohm (head coach), who, prior to his move to Purdue, we developed a great relationship when he was at Western Kentucky. That was big and then just from an offensive standpoint, the spread offense they run. His ability to get the slot the ball and how creative he is with drawing up plays. 

Q: You burst onto the scene as a freshman during your first career game against Northwestern. Tell me about your first year and what it meant to you to have a special season like that.

M: It was really exciting. I think now since I've actually had time to sit back and realize that I played okay as a freshman, I sat back and watched it and I realized that I could've played a lot better. I was out there, the game was moving fast, I didn't know as much, not getting the proper depth on my routes, and there was a lot of other mistakes that I made from the inexperience, but it was exciting. I think it was possible because all 10 other guys are doing their job while I was on the field with them. I also have to give a huge shoutout to my coaches who got me prepared and that was through extra time with watching film, and helping with the playbook. Hats off to my teammates and my coaches.

https://twitter.com/JReidNFL/status/1264973260887863296?s=20

Q: Coming off of a prolific freshman season, there obviously was heightened expectations in 2019. You only ended up playing in four games because of the hamstring injury. Looking back on it, what did you learn from the adversity that you faced and then some trials/tribulations that you went through and persevered?

M: So, I played in three games and one quarter of the fourth one. I think I was playing well statistically, but I happened to pull a hamstring and it bothered me, but I think it was a sign that everything was already written and whatever happened was gonna happen. That's a part of football, life, and I think the thing is surrounding yourself with a team that's forward thinking and innovative. I'm a part of a great team with rehabbing and getting back right. 

The trials and tribulations were rough. It was tough to sit out and not be able to contribute, but I got to watch the guys and give the knowledge, feedback, and see the game from a different aspect. I found some positives out of being injured, but I'm ready to go this year. I'm more ready than ever. 

Q: You're known for your strong hands, play strength, and shiftiness with making defenders miss in space, but what do you think is the best part of your game overall?

M: My grit, man. I think that's in every aspect that I can think of. I'm not the tallest, so I have to find ways to win. I take pride in this game and that comes from getting extra reps after practice, watching extra film, and doing whatever I need to do in order to gain an edge. Obviously, I'm going to do whatever I feel translates. I think doing my due diligence on the back end helps me thrive when I step foot on the field. 

Q: On the flip side, let's talk about something that you think you need to improve upon or an area that you've been working on the most this offseason to add to your game.

M: I'm at a point where I feel like everything that I do, there's always something to work on. I can harp on my game all day, but there's some tweaks that I've been working on. Catch radius, catching the ball away from my body, high pointing the ball, being a better 50-50 receiver, using my speed to run away from people are all areas that I can do a better job of.

I think there are times where I try to make people miss too much. I gotta do a better job in the return game as well with taking some to the house (scoring touchdowns) and contributing from that aspect. I also want to make sure that I limit the drops. I've had a few focus drops through my first two seasons that shouldn't have happened because I was thinking touchdown before making the catch.

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