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Elijah Moore

Browns like their new wide receiver

There’s the weird deal with Aaron Rodgers where he likes to play with his buddies. When the Jets traded for Rodgers, it also involved signing Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb. And I think that’s going to come back to bite them.

More specifically: Elijah Moore. I think Moore can play, and I think New York will regret giving him away. With the Jets already having Garrett Wilson and adding the two former Packers, they felt like they had to give away Moore. (They sent him away to Cleveland, along with a third-round pick, getting a second-round pick in return.) But Moore is definitely better than Cobb, and I think he’s porbably better than Lazard also.

Just a year ago, Robert Saleh was bragging after the draft that Moore was a first-round pick on their board. And Moore did some good things as a rookie. He was pretty much a disaster when working with Zach Wilson, but in the four games Wilson didn’t start, Moore caught 24 passes for 336 yards and 4 TDs.

Moore wasn’t as successful last year. He continued to struggle with Wilson at quarterback, and also played a less prominent role, with the Jets having picked a receiver in the first round. When Moore complained about Wilson in the media, the coaches (or management) seemed to sour on him.

It looks like a smart bet for the Browns. For the equivalent cost of a pick in the middle of the third round (the lost the 42nd pick of the draft but got the 74th pick as part of the deal) they could be landing a starting wide receiver.

Reports from OTAs suggest the Browns like what they’ve seen so far.

“He has exceptional ball skills and very strong hands … (he’s) able to track the ball at all levels of the offense,” says receiver coach Chad O’Shea. “He can track the ball in that short area and take a ball and catch and run. He can get behind the defense and track the deep ball very well and especially at his size, being a smaller receiver, he really plays big in my opinion and he’s got exceptional ball skills. So it fits really well with our quarterback.”

“He has great flexibility, inside and outside flexibility,” “He can run individual routes outside and win out there,” says offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt said. “He can come into the slot and has the twitch to win in the slot as well. He has excellent hands and a good feel for the game. So really a complete receiver that can play both inside and out.”

Amari Cooper dominated the touches in Cleveland’s passing game last year, and the Browns also have an above-average tight end (David Njoku). But they’ve got room for another pass catcher. And Moore is looking like that guy. It likely will be either Moore of Donovan Peoples-Jones, and I like Moore more out of those two.

Those big games in 2021 certainly caught my eye. If we look at the top 3 games for each wide receiver from that season (not 2022, but two years ago), Moore was the 23rd-best receiver in the league using PPR scoring.

I will consider using a late-round pick on Moore.

RECEIVERS: TOP 3 GAMES OF 2021
PlayerRecYardsRunTDPPR
JaMarr Chase, Cin.2562605117.6
Tyreek Hill, K.C.3453145117.5
Cooper Kupp, LAR30461-76111.4
Davante Adams, G.B.3144105105.1
Deebo Samuel, S.F.2244237599.9
Justin Jefferson, Min.284697499.6
Tee Higgins, Cin.254320598.2
Mike Williams, LAC244060596.6
Gabriel Davis, Buff.183290792.9
A.J. Brown, Ten.294330390.3
CeeDee Lamb, Dall.2234714588.1
Mike Evans, T.B.182780787.8
Amon-Ra St. Brown, Det.2531154487.5
Amari Cooper, Dall.283460486.6
Tyler Lockett, Sea.254182385.0
Chris Godwin, T.B.323889283.7
Adam Thielen, Min.252802583.2
Terry McLaurin, Was.243520483.2
Jaylen Waddle, Mia.292990482.9
DK Metcalf, Sea.172686680.4
Antonio Brown, T.B.213386479.4
Diontae Johnson, Pitt.242980477.8
Elijah Moore, NYJ2130224477.6
Hollywood Brown, Balt.243540377.4
Stefon Diggs, Buff.263320377.2
Kendrick Bourne, N.E.1623657575.3
Russell Gage, Atl.283470274.7
DJ Moore, Car.243185374.3
Courtland Sutton, Den.243730273.3
Hunter Renfrow, L.V.283272272.9

—Ian Allan

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