2021 Projections for the Cardinals’ Rondale Moore
Typically, rookie wideouts that are not selected in the first round of the NFL draft enter into their first training camp with mediocre expectations at best, especially with other established veteran options in front of them. But with the kind of firepower that head coach Kliff Kingsbury requires for the Arizona Cardinals, it is fair to assume that Rondale Moore will become more of a relevant option, both in their offense and in fantasy, sooner rather than later.
Surrounding quarterback Kyler Murray with a plethora of weapons is how this team can extract the most talent out of their first-overall selection a few years back, and while he has already shown what he is capable of achieving in this league, adding a spark plug like Moore is just another piece to the puzzle that the Cardinals are continuously assembling. The NFC West division looks to be the toughest division on paper this year, and with all four teams having above-average odds to make the postseason, the Cardinals need to do whatever they can to succeed.
Moore enters the league after having played collegiate ball at Purdue University, consistently setting the Big Ten on fire with his explosiveness and making a name for himself on a team that was often underachieving. The kind of skillset that Moore brings to this AZ offense will only help DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green, and others succeed this season, especially in the role that Moore is expected to fill.
As a burner with elusiveness coming out all ends, Moore is going to become a player that wears many different hats for Kingbury – from defensive manipulation through motion, to open-field screen opportunities, to pop passes behind the line of scrimmage, and even deep balls, Moore is going to be given many opportunities to eat and eat early for the Cardinals.
His breakout is going to be needed early in the season for Arizona, especially with how well Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle are all expected to play this year as well – while not necessarily a make-or-break scenario for Kingsbury, this team has failed to make good on the leap of faith this front office made when they hired their head coach a few offseasons ago.
58 receptions / 689 yards / 5 TDs / 42 rushing yards / 1 rushing TDs / 2 fumbles
Could Moore become this year’s Justin Jefferson? Ehh, unlikely, but with how he is being treated in the fantasy sphere, it certainly looks a lot like what we all experienced last year with Jefferson’s breakout with the Vikings.
What is more in the cards for Moore is a bit of a slower ‘welcome to the party’ moment for the rookie, especially while he gets acclimated into the offense and finds his target share and role alongside Hopkins and others. He was drafted to help provide a jolt to a WR core that was lacking behind Hopkins, and while the likes of Green, Andy Isabella, and Christian Kirk is solid on paper, they do not leap out at you while they are on the field, justifying drafting Moore.
By the end of the year, Moore could realistically become the WR3 or 4 from this year’s draft class, likely finishing behind the Eagles’ DeVonta Smith, and the Dolphins’ Jaylen Waddle, even possibly behind the Bengals’ Ja’Marr Chase if he is able to overcome his yips and not having white lines on the football.
The situation Moore enters into may be one of the best (outside of Smith’s) just due to the sheer passing chances that this offense rolls out on a weekly basis. When Murray is on his game, he is able to distribute the ball all over the field and is able to feed many mouths, which in turn helps support many fantasy-relevant targets, a category Moore likely will be fitting into quickly this year.
Just under 60 receptions and 700 yards is nothing to sneeze at, especially for a shorter WR (5’7”) jumping into a league where height and physically usually wins most arguments. But quickness and speed certainly can help set players apart from each other, two elements that Moore has working in his favor. If he can produce five-plus touchdowns this year, then his fantasy relevancy and his on-field snap counts will head north quickly – AKA grab him now before this happens.
The Cardinals boast one of the league’s most potent offensive attacks, something that will help boost Moore’s value heading into the season. If he comes out of the gates slow, don’t panic – timelines for all rookies to acclimate to the pace of play differ for each player.
As an underrated option at this point in the season, expect Moore to make a quick jump into fighting for this draft class’s most unexpected breakout option moving forward.