It may be too late to pick up Oakland Raiders rookie receiver Denarius Moore in your fantasy league … but if it isn't, get the guy now. It's been a while since we've seen a fifth-round draft pick make this kind of impression in his first two games, but the buzz on the Tennessee alum goes back to the preseason and even to draft day. Moore's amazing 50-yard touchdown grab in the fourth quarter of a game the Raiders eventually lost to the Buffalo Bills was a perfect example of why everyone's talking about him.
It's not often you see a receiver with the combination of sheer speed to beat two defenders on a footrace downfield and body control to leap up from full speed to bring in the catch. Cornerback Leodis McKelvin and safety George Wilson didn't have a chance — Moore simply blew them up on a stutter-go over Buffalo's Cover-2, and that was all she wrote.
It wasn't a fluke play, either — Moore caught five passes for 147 yards in the game. The Raiders were without their three allegedly "best" receivers in Jacoby Ford, Louis Murphy and Darrius Heyward-Bey, but it didn't matter.
This led Moore's teammate, former New York Giants tight end Kevin Boss (who was also out of the game), to opine this week when he went on Bay Area sports talk station 95.7 The Game that Moore was pretty special:
"Oh, man — he's been doing it since training camp, really. I said early on, when I got to training camp and saw some of the plays he was making … I said, 'This might be the best rookie player I've ever seen.' The plays he makes are pretty incredible. He's a really special player — we've found a very good wide receiver in Denarius Moore."
Hosts "The Rise Guys" then asked Boss to clarify — Moore might be the best rookie he's ever seen?
"Yes. I've been saying it since training camp, and he proved it again in that Buffalo game."
"He's one of those guys you pick up late in the draft and wonder, `How did this guy fall?'" quarterback Jason Campbell said in August. "He's so talented, so athletic."
In this week's episode of the Greg Cosell podcast, our buddy from NFL Films and ESPN's "NFL Matchup" added his voice to the choir. "I really loved Denarius Moore coming out, and when I watched him on film, I think I tweeted right away how much I liked him. When Tennessee played LSU, he ran by Patrick Peterson a number of times on balls that were not thrown to him. But that's the great thing about watching tape and seeing every play — you see him running by Peterson as if Peterson was standing still. I'm surprised he wasn't drafted higher, and what I really like about him is that he goes and gets the ball. I think he's going to be a really good player."
Greg also said that Moore might be limited by Jason Campbell, which is something he'd be used to. One of the reasons Moore didn't get more play in draft circles was that Tennessee's quarterback situation was so bad through his time there. He also had three different head coaches in his last three years with the Vols, which doesn't really engender continuity. Then again, the way Al Davis goes through coaches, Moore might be singularly well-prepared for that, as well.
In all possible ways, Denarius Moore is the perfect fit for the Raiders.