Ole Miss WR Elijah Moore after stellar NFL Pro Day: 'I don't know why I don't get picked first overall'

Nick Suss
Mississippi Clarion Ledger

OXFORD — Move over Trevor Lawrence.

Former Ole Miss wide receiver Elijah Moore lit up his pro day Thursday in Oxford. He ran his 40-yard dash in 4.32 seconds. He ran his three-cone drill in 6.65 seconds. He broad jumped 10-foot, 1-inch. He ran crisp routes and made toe-dragging circus catches in the back of the end zone and went through running back drills and punt return drills in front of NFL scouts for good measure.

Moore improved his NFL Draft stock Thursday. He might've done enough to vault himself into being talked about as a first-round pick.

But like his name indicates, Moore sees more in himself.

"I don't know why I don't get picked first overall," Moore said. "I'm going to work harder than everybody else. You can't tell me there are people better than me. I feel like I'm the best offensive player in this draft. People have their doubts, and they're going to say things, but I feel like it's all going to come to the light."

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Moore caught 86 passes for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns in eight games in 2020 on the way to being a first-team All-American. He led college football in receiving yards per game. He became the first Power 5 receiver since Michael Crabtree in 2007 to average more than 10 catches per game. He finished second in the FBS in receiving yards.

Beyond that, Moore is a famously hard worker. Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin compared Moore to Dallas Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper and Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry, both of whom Kiffin coached at Alabama.

The connection Kiffin sees between the three comes down to the way they live and breathe football.

"People always say you want guys who love football," Kiffin said. "If you go in a team room and ask how many guys love football, they all raise their hands. But if you love something, you do everything you can to protect it. That's what the few guys who really do love it do. They're not sidetracked at all. Every day we've been here with (Moore) it's been all about being a great player and doing everything he could for his team."

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Moore was admittedly anxious before his pro day. His competitiveness had gotten the best of him. He had to stop watching TV and stay away from social media to stop himself from watching other prospects as motivation. He had to do the same thing with games in the fall. He'd watch other opponents too much, and it'd make him anxious.

But the drills themselves felt natural. Moore joked that he felt like he'd just played a game. All the adrenaline. All the aches and pains. All from an hour in shorts.

Moore doesn't like comparing himself to other players. He balks at questions about who he models his game after and what he does to stand out from other receivers in his draft class.

His focus is on focusing. His plan is to plan. When asked how a 5-foot-9, 178-pound receiver can beat press coverage in the NFL, he talked about anticipation. He said it's not about physicality. It's about having a plan, and then having another plan in case the defensive back guesses your plan correctly. 

Maybe a knock on Moore was that he didn't play fast. Well, he just went out and ran his 40-yard dash faster than Ole Miss legend and NFL speedster Mike Wallace. 

Maybe a knock on Moore was that he didn't have the size to play strong and absorb hits. Well, he just bench pressed 225 pounds 17 times, more than former Ole Miss teammate and Buffalo Bills starter Dawson Knox did at the 2019 NFL Combine. And remember, Knox is a tight end.

Moore understands there are knocks on him. But he thinks he can make them all go away.

"A lot of people probably came in doubting if I was fast or if my routes were going to be up to par," Moore said. "But I feel like seeing it in person and seeing it on social media are two different things. I'm a very efficient person. I wanted to get things done. I feel like I executed that."

Contact Nick Suss at 601-408-2674 or nsuss@gannett.com. Follow @nicksuss on Twitter.