Elijah Moore's Breakout Is For Real

Photo: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets are experiencing yet another wretched and miserable season. Sunday's uninspiring performance against their fellow AFC East basement dweller Miami Dolphins dropped the Jets to 2-8 on the year. Rookie signal-caller Zach Wilson remains sidelined after suffering a knee injury way back in Week 7, and the quarterback carousel occurring between Joe Flacco and Mike White is giving Jets fans little reason to tune in on Sunday.

Wilson's stint on the mend has prevented the Jets from further evaluating the most important piece on their roster, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's all bad in East Rutherford. An offensive star in the making has revealed himself in recent weeks with several standout and noteworthy performances. 

Rookie wide receiver Elijah Moore has been unbelievably electric. Moore has been incredibly productive in his latest four appearances. The former Ole Miss standout has secured 24 receptions for 336 receiving yards while making four trips to the end zone in that timeframe. Moore was especially efficient in Sunday's loss, recording career-highs in receptions (8) and receiving yards (141). Additionally, Moore has scored at least one touchdown in three consecutive contests.

Moore's recent breakout becomes even more impressive when you consider that he's broken out of his shell while receiving subpar quarterback play from Flacco, White, and Josh Johnson. It doesn't matter who's under center in New York. Moore is creating separation and finding chemistry with several below-average signal-callers. It speaks volumes about the type of aptitude he possesses.

General manager Joe Douglas has collected some young offensive talent that should champion the Jets forward in the years to come. Fellow rookie Michael Carter has the appearance of an exciting young playmaker at the running back position. Corey Davis has struggled with injury and productivity at times but has flashed the WR1 skill set that attracted Douglas to him in the first place. Mekhi Becton and Alijah Vera-Tucker are prominent building blocks on the offensive line. None of these players carry the superstar tag potential that Moore has showcased lately.

The Jets have done a lot of things wrong in 2021, but continuing to provide Moore with targets and opportunities to grow and expand his wings would be a wise strategy to employ down the home stretch of the season. Moore has averaged north of seven targets per game in New York's last five contests, including a career-high 11 in their latest match, the Week 11 loss to the Dolphins. New York's plethora of disappointing quarterbacks are peppering Moore with targets, and the early returns have been incredibly encouraging.

Moore's early-career production has hardly come as a surprise to those of us who were mesmerized by his talent at Ole Miss. Studying Moore ahead of the 2021 draft was an exhilarating process. Despite appearing in just eight contests for the Rebels in 2020, the Sunrise, Florida native recorded an astounding 86 receptions for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns. On tape, Moore showcased the ability to run dynamic routes while operating both outside and in the slot. He's an explosive playmaker that separates from coverage with outstanding quickness and elusiveness. It’s the same skill set that has allowed him to hit the ground running in the NFL.

The New York media will continue to anxiously await their next opportunity to scout Wilson. The quarterback position is king, and a rambunctious market like the one found in East Rutherford will continue to focus the narrative on their rookie signal-caller. We just hope Moore receives the roses he wholeheartedly deserves.

Written By:

Justin Melo

Staff Writer

Justin Melo is an NFL draft analyst that cut his teeth at The Draft Breakdown and USA Today's Draft Wire. He specializes in interviewing prospects, but also produces big boards, mock drafts, and scouting reports. He also covers the Tennessee Titans nationally for Broadway Sports Media and SB Nation.