University of Missouri

Mizzou's J'Mon Moore drafted by Packers: 'I can’t ask for a better situation'

J'Mon Moore happy with his performance at Mizzou's pro day

J'Mon Moore is the Missouri Tigers' best NFL prospect. He improved his 40-yard dash time at Mizzou's pro day on March 22, 2018 in Columbia.
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J'Mon Moore is the Missouri Tigers' best NFL prospect. He improved his 40-yard dash time at Mizzou's pro day on March 22, 2018 in Columbia.

J’Mon Moore moved from Texas to play football for the Missouri Tigers, and he learned to deal with snow while living in the Midwest. So the wide receiver who the Green Bay Packers selected with the 133rd overall pick in the NFL Draft on Saturday believes he is ready for, um, even colder weather in Wisconsin.

“I’m pretty sure I can handle some snow here and there,” Moore said on a conference call with reporters. “That’s no problem for me.”

After he heard his name called in the draft’s fourth round, Moore said Green Bay is exactly where he wanted to be. He made a pre-draft visit to the Packers — as well as his hometown Houston Texans — and he felt Green Bay was the “perfect fit.”

Of course, most receivers would be happy to have Aaron Rodgers as their quarterback.

“Me playing receiver, catching balls from one of the best quarterbacks in the National Football League, I can’t ask for a better situation,” Moore said. “Being able to … just trust that the ball’s going to be where it needs to be without me even asking, that’s just the best feeling, a great feeling. Not many people get to say they have the opportunity I have.”

Moore — the 15th overall receiver taken in the draft and the fifth to go in the fourth round — was the only Mizzou player to attend the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine this year. He is the first MU receiver to be selected in the draft since 2015, when the Rams picked Bud Sasser in the sixth round.

As a senior, Moore earned second-team All-Southeastern Conference recognition. He caught 65 passes for 1,082 yards — both high marks for the team this past season — and became the second Missouri receiver to record two 1,000-receiving yard seasons. He finished his career with 21 touchdown receptions.

Throughout his college career, Moore struggled with “focus drops,” instances during which he failed to catch a ball because he had already begun looking upfield. He said after Missouri’s pro day that NFL teams were “concerned with it, but it wasn’t like a major red flag.”

“That’s a small hiccup that I’m over,” Moore said on Saturday.

Teams also expressed concern with the offense Moore played in at Missouri under former offensive coordinator Josh Heupel, who emphasized speed and simplicity. Moore only played on the far left side of the field, and he ran just a few routes.

“I wasn’t able to showcase everything I could do in college because I stayed on the left side,” Moore said after MU’s pro day. “I stayed outside. But I mean, I felt like in the Senior Bowl I was able to show them I could play both sides, I was able to pick up playing inside and out.”

The Packers return their two leading pass catchers from a season ago — Davante Adams and Randall Cobb — but they released veteran Jordy Nelson this offseason, and Moore could have a chance to take Nelson’s place on the outside.

“I’m glad they selected me,” Moore said. “I’ m ready to come in there and contribute and leave it all on the field.”

At the NFL combine, Moore ran the 40-yard dash in a disappointing 4.6 seconds — good for 32nd out of 37 receivers. He improved on the drill at Missouri’s pro day, when he completed it in 4.48 seconds.

Moore’s other measurables didn’t need much improvement at MU’s pro day. At the combine, his bench press performance — 21 reps of 225 pounds — ranked third out of 34 receivers, and his vertical jump of 38 inches ranked fourth out of 38 receivers.

With a 6-foot-3 frame and the ability to separate himself from defenders at all levels, Moore landed as a mid-round pick in most pre-draft projections. And that’s where he ended up on Saturday.

Missouri has had a player drafted into the NFL for 14 straight years. During that streak, this is the furthest into the draft it has taken for the first MU player to be selected.

This was also the second straight season that the draft has only included one Missouri player. Last year, defensive end Charles Harris went in the first round and was MU’s only draftee.

“My heart burst,” Moore said of the moment he learned he had been drafted. “... That’s a dream come true. Just getting that phone call, knowing that a team believes in you and have selected you to come play for their team, that’s the best feeling in the world. That’s a feeling I’ll never forget.”