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Cowboys 2018 Draft: Is D.J. Moore emerging as a realistic option for the Cowboys’ first-round pick?

How high is DJ Moore’s stock after the combine?

NFL Combine - Day 3 Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Defensive tackle? Offensive guard? Wide receiver? Pass rusher? Another defensive back?

There are many different routes that the Cowboys can go when the 19th pick comes on the clock inside AT&T Stadium this April. Dallas may also consider trading up for a talent like Derwin James or Roquan Smith, while also weighing their options of trading back for an extra pick in the top-50.

Some fans are hoping the front office continues building a defense that impressed down the stretch of the 2017 season, while others are wanting Dallas to go with the BPA — even if it that’s an offensive lineman or wideout.

One player that appears to be emerging as a first-round candidate is Maryland Terrapins wide receiver D.J. Moore.

We profiled the speedy wide receiver just last month. At the time, Moore was listed at 5-foot-11 and 215 pounds and because of that, the Maryland product was thought to be a day two pick.

Whatever the case is, Moore seems to a big-time prospect that can instantly help any offense he gets in. His game-breaking ability allows him to change a five-yard gain into a 50-yard score (as evidenced above). Whichever team gets Moore will get a prospect with a high ceiling and the talent to eventually grow into a go-to target in the NFL.

However, in addition to his speed, Moore measured in a little bit bigger than what was expected — standing at 6-foot-tall, immediately raising his stock, at least a little bit, for teams around the league.

The fact that Moore stands a 6-foot is potentially a game-changer for many teams, as it is now confirmed that he has the size to go along with the game-breaking speed. 5-foot-11 and 6-foot may not seem like a huge difference, but Moore’s measurement shows he has legit WR1 size.

Moore then impressed with his 40-time, showing his straight-line speed and finishing with one of best times at his position.

The Maryland star had one of the better days on Saturday, impressing scouts and GMs and improving his draft stock in the process. Here are some of the reactions to Moore’s big day:

But it’s not just his speed or his measurables that impress, he also has the production to go along with it. The numbers back up the big day he had at the NFL Combine in Indy.

Moore amassed 2,027 yards and 17 touchdowns receiving on 146 catches during his collegiate career in College Park — with mediocre-to-bad quarterback play. After totaling over 600 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore in 2016, the Philly native had a huge breakout season for the Terps in 2017.

Dane Brugler’s number two wide receiver in the 2018 NFL Draft class emerged as one of the more intriguing wide receivers in the country this past fall, as Moore set career-highs in receptions (80), yards (1,033), and touchdowns (eight). If that’s not enough, the talented wideout carried the football five times for 61 yards — including a 21-yard score in the second game of the season. The junior received numerous honors and awards following his big 2017 campaign — Big Ten Receiver of the Year, first team All-Big Ten, and All-American honors. Moore opted to forgo his final season of eligibility and enter his name in the draft, a decision that looks better and better as each week passes.

D.J. Moore also adds value on special teams — as a kick and punt returner — which should only help his stock in Jason Garrett and the coaching staff’s eyes. The speedster returned 15 punts for 153 yards (10.3 average) in 2017, while returning 15 kicks for 334 yards (good for a 22.3 average) in 2016.

The Maryland star was the focus of defensive gameplans each and every week during the 2017 season — and yet, the talented wideout was still talented enough to make defenses pay (a very high 39.5% target rate) much more often than not whenever he got his hands on the ball. Compared to the great Steve Smith, Moore has the speed to turn a short and simple five-yard gain into a game-breaking play. He is electric on quick routes and on bubble screens, and Moore is absolutely deadly in the open field. He is the type of player that could help take this offense to another level. Dak Prescott would surely love throwing to him, and Ezekiel Elliott would certainly appreciate less defensive backs in the box.

Moore isn’t a perfect prospect, as he still has to learn to be more consistent with being explosive in his routes and he isn’t the best 50/50 pass catcher, but the 2017 Big Ten Receiver of the Year has the tools to develop into an absolute stud on the NFL level. His speed, route running, and big-play ability gives him a high ceiling and should make any NFL team happy once he learns their system and adjusts to the professional game. Brugler said on Saturday’s The Draft Show that he would not be surprised if some teams have Moore higher than Ridley on their draft boards. Brugler currently ranks Moore as the second best wideout in this class, and he gets a “Steve Smith vibe” when watching the former Terp’s film.

Maryland’s D.J. Moore. His tape gives off a Steve Smith vibe with his shorter stature, but also the route athleticism and toughness. He has a great chance of out-playing his draft slot.

The Maryland product formally met with the Cowboys in Indianapolis, showing that there is interest from Dallas. If, as expected, Calvin Ridley is already off the board and players such as safety Derwin James, linebacker Roquan Smith, and defensive tackle Vita Vea are long gone, can D.J. Moore be the pick? It’s too early to tell, but his combine performance has certainly pushed him up draft boards.

Don’t be surprised if Moore is in consideration for the Cowboys’ first pick this April.

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