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Perry: Patriots should be focused on this player in Round 2

/ by Phil Perry
Presented By John's Sewer
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If the New England Patriots could only have one player who's still available in the 2021 NFL Draft and claim as their own? The answer to me is fairly quick and easy.

It's Ole Miss receiver Elijah Moore.

Considered a first-round talent by many ahead of this year's draft, Moore looks like a souped-up slot receiver. In other words, exactly what New England could use.

We know the Patriots addressed their most glaring need in Round 1 of the draft when they took Alabama's Mac Jones. They could address their next-most pressing issue -- a lack of dynamic receiving talent -- in Round 2 with Moore.

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Moore checks in at just 5-foot-9 and 178 pounds, meaning he'd be the lightest receiver Bill Belichick has ever drafted. (Braxton Berrios is currently the lightest at 184 pounds). Still, he brings a lot to the table and was our 19th-ranked player from this year's Prototypical Patriots list. The only player ranked higher and still available on Day 2 is Georgia edge defender Azeez Ojulari.

Moore ran a 4.35-second 40-yard dash to go along with wildly fast agility times (4.00 short shuttle, 6.65 three-cone). He also submitted more than adequate jump numbers (36-inch vertical, 121-inch broad) to fit well within the standards set by other receivers drafted by the Patriots in early rounds.

 

Last season, Moore racked up 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns as a slot machine. To succeed as he did -- running away from SEC defensive backs on a regular basis and playing through contact consistently -- should pique New England's interest.

2021 NFL Draft Highlights: Elijah Moore

While smallish, Moore has the quicks to shake free from coverage on the outside or in the slot. He'll almost certainly own the kinds of short-to-intermediate routes that Jones can hit consistently from behind center.

Jones was the most accurate passer in the country on passes targeted within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, according to Pro Football Focus, yet the Patriots don't currently have an obvious short-area-of-the-field separator at the moment.

Enter Moore.

Moore also has the kind of game-breaking speed that Patriots slots of the past really haven't had. It's the kind of juice that would give Josh McDaniels a new wrinkle for his offense. Stressing defenses vertically from the interior? With talented tight ends already threatening the seams? Could be a nightmare for safeties and slot corners.

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Bringing Moore aboard would also allow newly-acquired receiver Nelson Agholor to see the majority of his reps on the outside, where he excelled in 2020 for the Raiders.

Moore could be New England's Tyler Lockett, potentially. After snagging a quarterback, picking up a sure-handed (if undersized) burner who can win from a variety of alignments would be an excellent add to a receiving corps in need of more dynamism.

Note: The Patriots are currently positioned to pick 14th tonight (No. 46 overall) in Round 2 of the NFL Draft.