Skyy’s the Limit: Can Moore Help Fill the Void in the Post-Cheetah Era?
Few teams found better value in the 2022 NFL Draft than the Kansas City Chiefs, landing talents like Trent McDuffie, George Karlaftis, Leo Chenal, Joshua Williams and Darian Kinnard for a fraction of their value.
However, Western Michigan wide receiver Skyy Moore has an easy pathway to early production for just the cost of the 52nd overall pick in the draft.
The Chiefs went out and snagged Marquez Valdez-Scantling and JuJu Smith-Schuster in free agency after trading Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins. Valdez-Scantling will earn the value of his pricey contract deep down the field, while Smith-Schuster will find plenty of targets underneath as Patrick Mahomes’ safety valve.
With a diverse skill set and the talent to win all over the field, Moore has real potential to grow into an immediate impact player in Kansas City early on. We can discuss his level of competition in college all day, but it’s wildly apparent that Moore can go up against anyone and win consistently when reviewing his performance against Pittsburgh this past season.
Squashing a common misconception right off the top: Skyy is way Moore than just a slot receiver. At the college level, 68.1% of his snaps came outside the numbers, with the rest coming from in the slot. He found wild success in both alignments, creating a higher percentage of big plays outside (36.0%) than he did in the slot (25.5%).
Moore’s production was more or less indistinguishable based on where he was lined up for the Western Michigan offense. This will make him a favorable player for Andy Reid, Mahomes and the rest of the Kansas City offense.
While Moore played almost double the reps outside than he did in the slot, his target numbers are almost identical from both alignments. He saw 65 targets outside the numbers and 64 targets from the slot. His ability to torch defenses mirrored one another from the slot and outside the numbers as well, as he ended up with a burn percentage over 70% from both spots.
Only Jameson Williams (74.6%) now of the Detroit Lions, Garrett Wilson (71.6%) of the New York Jets, first receiver off the board Drake London (71.3%) and second-rounder Alec Pierce (72.9%) had higher overall burn percentages. Not only was Moore explosive at the NFL Combine, where he ran a blazing 4.41 40-yard dash (with 10- and 20-yard splits in the 99th and 98th percentile, respectively), but it shows up on the field as well.
Long story short, Moore has the ability to get open that is up there with anyone in the class. He had a higher open percentage than all but one of the wide receivers who went in the first round. After all, isn’t getting open and catching the football (Moore also touts a 94.9% catch rate – second among wideout prospects) the desired result of a receiver?
Off the line of scrimmage, there are few better than Moore at firing out without a false step and with a massive sense of urgency. Despite his small stature at 5-foot-9, Moore beats press man coverage at an extremely high clip given his foot speed and technical refinement on his releases.
In traffic, with nobody around him or vertically at the catch point, Moore shows tremendous comfortability and vice grips for hands to haul in the football. Along the boundary and deep down the field, Moore is in excellent control of his body to haul in passes while maintaining his status within the field of play. His one drop last season was the fewest among all wideout prospects.
He proves capable of creating lightning in a bottle with the football in his hands as well, making magic after the catch and on designed screens and quick hitters. The NFL values the ability to create additional yardage, and Moore can do just that once he has secured the football.
Of course, it’s unrealistic to expect immediate Cheetah-like performances. Having said that, it’s hard to poke holes in Moore’s game. That bodes well as he looks to snatch up snaps at the NFL level. This is what elevated Moore to a fringe top-50 pick despite playing in the MAC throughout his collegiate career.
After losing not only Hill, but Byron Pringle as well, these percentages fit favorably for the Chiefs offense. Travis Kelce is the only remaining primary pass catcher with a higher burn rate than Moore stacked up in college outside the numbers. Wide receiver Josh Gordon and tight end Noah Gray also eclipsed Moore’s mark, but they lacked a substantial sample size with 16 combined targets.
From the slot, it’s only Kelce who has a clear-cut better burn rate than Moore. While Mecole Hardman has been deemed the player most fit to take over targets left behind by Hill, he’s yet to consistently prove he can create explosive plays within the Kansas City offense.
Bottom line: The Chiefs are going to have to replicate the void left by Hill one way or the other. And while they’ll probably take the Moneyball approach of using multiple bodies to replace one departing player, Moore has the skill set and potential to siphon off snaps from established veterans early in training camp.
Greg Gifford contributed. Graphic design by Matt Sisneros.
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