As the clock struck 7:30 p.m. on Saturday night and the 2013 NFL Draft concluded, general managers immediately got on the phone with the agents of players who went undrafted to quickly scoop those undervalued players up before another team with a better situation came calling.
Reports first came out that Missouri slot receiver T.J. Moe had signed on with the Jaguars to play with his former quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who Moe excelled with in 2010. Then, since the undrafted free agent situation is a fluid one, word came out later that Moe had actually signed with the Patriots, according to NEPatriotsDraft.com, and those in the know on Moe cheered.
It’s an easy comparison to make with shifty, white, under-6-foot slot receivers, but when you watch Moe you can’t help but notice a little bit of Wes Welker or Danny Amendola in his game. All three Big 12 slot guys (yes, I know Missouri is in the SEC now) have similar agility and short-area quickness that allows them to get open in the middle of the field.
Moe shined in 2010 with Gabbert under center, but struggled to put up the same gaudy stats with James Franklin and Corbin Berkstresser at quarterback. Moe caught 92 passes with 1,045 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore with Gabbert. His numbers took a tumble in his junior and senior seasons.
The slot man, who stands 5-foot-11, 204 pounds, ran a 4.74-second official 40-yard dash at the combine (though unofficial numbers had him clocked at 4.68). It was the worst timing among wideouts in Indianapolis, but his 6.53-second 3-cone drill, 3.96-second short shuttle time and 10.87-second 60-yard shuttle drill were downright freaky — and the best among all wide receivers.
As a slot receiver, long speed is typically not needed. It was rare to see Welker go deep with the Patriots, and when he did, it rarely panned out very well. Moe is the kind of player who will get open in the middle of the field using the agility he showed in those drills at the combine. He moves his feet quickly and changes directions on a dime.
The inclusion of Moe should significantly boost Patriots’ fans’ perception of the 2013 draft class. The best slot receiver in the draft went No. 8 overall when Tavon Austin got picked by the Rams. Stedman Bailey was the next “Y” receiver taken in the third round, and a few were scattered in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds.
Getting a player like Moe, who should be able to pile up receptions if given the chance in the middle of the field, as a rookie free agent is incredible value. He has the best shot among all 16 undrafted players tied to the Patriots to make the team due to his talent and the lack of depth at wideout for New England.
New England already has two similar players in Amendola and Julian Edelman, but Tom Brady‘s strength as a passer is in the middle of the field, and if Moe can contribute, he should be able to stick around.
Check out Moe for yourself in the video below.
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