For plenty of young receivers, a key ingredient in their success comes from entering the NFL with the slice of humble pie that comes from not being a first-round pick.
The slap in the face often becomes a kick in the ass, motivating the player to be better than he would have been if he’d arrived as a first-round selection.
Recent examples of that phenomenon come courtesy of great receivers like Michael Thomas, DK Metcalf, and Chase Claypool. Jets receiver Elijah Moore, a second-round pick in 2021, could help make a name for himself thanks to the names taken ahead of him.
As recently explained by Connor Hughes of TheAthletic.com, Moore has the five receivers drafted before him written on a mirror in his hotel room: Ja’Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle, Devonta Smith, Kadarius Toney, Rashod Bateman. Moore reads the names aloud while brushing his teeth.
Moore went second in round two, so he didn’t exactly have a protracted slide. Nevertheless, the fact that he landed behind five others and not in round one becomes fuel for the fire.
“A chip? You could say that,” Moore told Hughes. “I think I’m the best. God doesn’t make any mistakes, but yeah, I’m going to show them why I should have gone first.”
Moore constantly studies other receivers, and he has been compared to Odell Beckham and Antonio Brown.
“I feel like I’m different than [Beckham and Brown] because I feel like there’s nothing I can’t do,” Moore said. “That’s not saying they’re limited, but it looks different with me. Which it should. . . . I don’t feel like I play like anybody, but I watch everybody.”
Moore also has some numbers on his mirror: 88 catches, 1,400 yards, and eight touchdowns. He told Hughes that those are the statistics generated by Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson, the breakout star of the 2020 draft class.
Confidence that borders on (and periodically crosses into) delusion becomes a key ingredient for any level of success in the NFL. Moore will get plenty of chances to turn that confidence and motivation into performance, especially if quarterback Zach Wilson becomes the player that many believe he will be.