University of Missouri

Mizzou’s J’Mon Moore determined to keep eyes on prize at Senior Bowl

How Mizzou’s J’Mon Moore plans to prove himself at Senior Bowl

Missouri’s J’Mon Moore wants to show his versatility as a receiver at the Senior Bowl.
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Missouri’s J’Mon Moore wants to show his versatility as a receiver at the Senior Bowl.

For all of J’Mon Moore’s consistent production and occasional brilliance at Missouri, the 6-foot-3, 209-pound receiver with dynamite downfield skills readily admits he has had an issue with dropped passes throughout his college career.

Yet when asked whether NFL scouts have been quizzing him about his hands this week at the Senior Bowl, Moore shook his head no. That was somewhat surprising.

“Not a lot, honestly,” Moore said. “I haven’t been asked about it a lot. I’ve just been asked about my eyes, and why I’m always taking them off the ball before the ball gets there.”

Those “focus drops,” while frustrating for Moore, did not keep him from emerging as one of the Southeastern Conference’s best receivers. Moore caught a combined 127 passes for 2,094 yards and 18 touchdowns over the past two seasons. His 16.6 yards-per-catch average is indicative of his inherent big-play ability, and the energy he plays with has caught the eye of many, including Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage.

“He’s a height-weight-speed prospect, a guy that can really fly,” said Savage, a former general manager for the Cleveland Browns. “I think the hands consistency is probably the question on him as he moves into the NFL, but he’s got a big upside because of the height-weight-speed ratio he brings to the table.”

Moore insists his hands aren’t a problem; they checked out at 9 1/4 inches, average for receivers in the NFL. He says it’s a focus issue.

“Can’t take ’em for granted,” Moore said of catching passes. “Those easy drops are the ones where you say, ‘OK, I’ve run this route over and over — it’s nothing to me.’ But when its time, you might take your eyes off it.

“I’ll be so ready to make a move, be so ready to make a big play, make somebody miss ... I’ve just got to remember the ball ain’t even there yet. I gotta make sure I get it first.”

If Moore can eliminate those drops, scouts think he’s got a chance to do big things in the NFL, given his combination of size, athleticism and on-field competitiveness.

“I’m intrigued by Moore,” said Rob Rang, a senior draft analyst for NFLDraftScout.com. “Obviously, with Missouri’s offense, you’ve got Drew Lock, and you’re going to have to have a guy who’s gonna go up and get the football, and he can. What I like about Moore is that I still feel like there’s some unlocked potential there. He’s a good athlete, he’s a big kid. I think he’s going to work out better than people expect.”

Folks might be wise to give Moore the benefit of the doubt, too. Focus drops can be corrected with hard work and repetition, and with more time to focus on his craft in the NFL, Moore could be the beneficiary of that because he’s adamant that football is — in Moore’s words — his life’s purpose.

“It’s been something I’ve been playing since I was little,” Moore said. “That’s all I ever wanted to do, that’s all I talked about doing, that’s all I ever did all day. My mom used to whoop me for running around the house, knocking stuff over with a football in my hand. This is what I truly enjoy and love doing. I wouldn’t know my purpose (without it).”

Add in the additional responsibility he feels to represent his hometown of Missouri City, Texas, and like Rang said, the ingredients could be there for additional growth.

“I feel like I play football for all the people at home that I know can’t do it, or didn’t have the opportunity to do it, or didn’t have what it takes to do it at this level,” Moore said.

So on Tuesday morning, just hours before the first Senior Bowl practice, Moore woke up, looked at himself in the mirror and told himself to do his thing.

“If you take advantage of this opportunity, you can put yourself in shoes you can’t even imagine,” Moore said. “You’ve got all these people out here wathcing, people with all these questions. Every question that everyone has about me, I plan on answering out here. That’s the best way.”

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