According to ESPN’s Todd McShay (subscription), the Indianapolis Colts will select Ole Miss wide receiver Elijah Moore with the 21st overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft in his final mock draft:
21. Indianapolis Colts
Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
Christian Darrisaw could have been a replacement for Anthony Castonzo, who announced his retirement in January, at left tackle, and Jaelan Phillips could have been an impact edge rusher for the Colts. But they’re both off the board. Instead, Moore gives new quarterback Carson Wentz a savvy route runner out of the slot.
The 5’9”, 178 pound wideout caught 86 receptions for 1,193 receiving yards (13.9 ypr. avg.) and 8 touchdown receptions during 8 starts in 2020—earning First-Team All-SEC honors.
Moore tested out very favorably at his recent pro day with an 8.68 RAS [Relative Athletic Score] of a potential maximum of 10.0—featuring a blazing fast forty time of 4.35 seconds:
Elijah Moore is a WR prospect in the 2021 draft class. He scored a 8.68 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 331 out of 2499 WR from 1987 to 2021. https://t.co/YS9wlnzxu0 #RAS via @Mathbomb pic.twitter.com/4tGTXIlkDs— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 7, 2021
Here’s NFL Network Daniel Jeremiah’s scouting report on Moore, who he ranks as the NFL Draft’s 26th best prospect overall:
Mississippi · WR · Junior
Moore is an undersized wideout with outstanding versatility, quickness and toughness. He has experience lining up outside, in the slot and in the backfield. He has excellent quickness in his release and is clean/crisp at the top of routes. He gets a lot of quick hitters, and he’s very elusive after the catch. He also makes some huge plays over the top, tracking the ball naturally and showing reliable hands. He is effective when used as a runner out of the backfield, too. He hits the hole full-go and can make defenders miss. Overall, Moore lacks size, but he’ll be a stud in the slot and can also help in the return game.
Here’s what else/others are saying on Moore:
Three guys I think could get their names called in the first round that might surprise most:— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) April 8, 2021
Edge Joe Tryon
C Creed Humphrey
WR Elijah Moore
Elijah Moore was torching South Carolina...— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) November 15, 2020
So they put big press CB Jaycee Horn on him. And then Moore wins again! Patient slant, takes forever... but wins on the route and breaks tackle! pic.twitter.com/TJwwlnqp4q
Great sign of confident hands is maintaining speed at the catch point on crossing routes...— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) February 25, 2021
WR Elijah Moore can pluck & move with the best of ‘em pic.twitter.com/TAY1I2IutJ
Elijah Moore caught 97% of catchable targets beyond the line of scrimmage in 2020.— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) April 23, 2021
Best among all WRs in College Football. pic.twitter.com/gxpaw1okof
Elijah Moore: 1,738 yards from the slot since 2019— PFF (@PFF) April 25, 2021
Ranks 1st in college football pic.twitter.com/pVgFIu7BWH
I've watched all of the top WRs (consensus top 12-15 or so) and I have a clear cut top 4— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) April 23, 2021
1. Ja'Marr Chase
2. Jaylen Waddle
3. Devonta Smith
4. Elijah Moore
After that it gets a little bit pick-your-poison for me. Still like a few guys, but not on the level of the top 4.
The Colts could use another playmaker at wide receiver to complement Michael Pittman Jr. long-term along the outside.
Veteran great T.Y. Hilton is 31 years old and is playing on a one-year deal, while Zach Pascal is more of a do-it-all ‘dirty work’ wideout, who can make clutch catches—rather than dynamic down the field weapon.
The Colts still do not know what they have with 2019 second round speedster Parris Campbell, who’s been significantly limited by injuries during his first two seasons.
Moore is a fine top wide receiver prospect in his own right, who projects to play predominantly in the slot at the pro ranks.
He’s incredibly fast, fairly polished as a route runner, and can generate big plays.
The problem is, this pick seems like it’s a year too early.
My best guess is that the Colts will want to give Campbell one final shot to stay healthy before investing significant draft capital into his potential replacement in the slot.
That doesn’t mean that the Colts won’t target wideout (or Campbell insurance) at some point in this year’s draft, but I have a hard time believing it will be for a natural slot prospect in the first round—especially without even a trade down.