- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 4, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS — At the NFL Scouting Combine, every inch can matter. Just ask D.J. Moore.

The Maryland wide receiver was listed as 5-foot-11 heading into Indianapolis. At the very least, Moore’s height could have given teams pause when comparing him to other top wide receivers in the draft.

So when Moore was measured at 6-feet, he might have just put himself back on the radar for some teams.

Moore wasn’t surprised about the extra inch.

“Nah, I knew how I tall I was going into it,” Moore said. “But I guess having it listed at 5-foot-11, it raised some flags of how tall I really was.”

Moore, though, isn’t done answering concerns about his draft value. After three productive seasons at Maryland, Moore said he was initially told by NFL’s College Advisory Committee his best option was to stay for his senior year.

He left anyway.

“Just talking to everybody on the coaching staff and my family, they just said, you know it was time for me to move on and pursue my career,” Moore said.

Moore is looking to become the latest Maryland wide receiver to make a splash in the NFL.

Moore often draws comparisons to Stefon Diggs, a former Terrapin who went in the fifth-round of the 2015 draft to the Minnesota Vikings. Diggs has become one of the league’s premier receivers.

While Moore shot that comparison down, he has gotten advice from Diggs on how to handle the process of turning pro. Former Maryland wide receiver Torrey Smith, who just won a title with the Philadelphia Eagles, reached out, too. When Moore declared for the draft, Moore said both receivers helped share how to pick an agent.

Diggs and Smith provided “light,” Moore said. 

“They just said to enjoy the process and just continue what I’m doing,” Moore said. “Working hard in the NFL is going to be something you’re going to have to do every day.”

Moore’s hard work has paid off, so far. In the fall, he was named Big Ten receiver of the year and was first-team All-Big Ten. He set a Maryland single-season record for receiving yards with 1,033.

Moore put up numbers despite Maryland cycling through eight different quarterbacks through his college career. Moore said he didn’t mind because he got to practice with every quarterback, rotating in with all of them. 

He also takes pride in his versatility. At Maryland, Moore was lined up all over the field. Moore said once he gets the ball in his hand, “I just become a different person.”

Moore said he had meetings with the Eagles, Indianapolis Colts, Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers. He’s also had informal contact with the Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens.

Moore said playing for the Ravens was “intriguing” because Ravens fans tweet at him the most.

At the moment, Moore is projected to be a second-round pick or even a late-first.

This year’s wide receiver class is bunched together, with NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock calling the group “cloudy.” Alabama’s Calvin Ridley and Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk, Mayock said, should be the first two taken, but the order could “go anywhere” after that.

Mayock said Moore “has some juice” and figures to be a slot receiver for teams.

Moore, meanwhile, displayed juice in his drills. He ran a 4.42 40-yard dash and had a 39-inch vertical leap.

Workouts at the Combine only matter in relative, usually, to expectations. For Moore, the expectation was that he would be shorter than he actually was. “That’s one to check off the box,” he said.

And Moore hasn’t forgotten he was told to say in school. 

“I just want to prove them wrong now,” Moore said.

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