With the departure of Tyreek Hill to the shores of South Beach, the Kansas City Chiefs are looking for ways to make up for the explosive plays that Hill brings to the Miami Dolphins.
Of course, they are in the enviable position of having Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce as means of creating offense, but as the Chiefs look to a new era, a new face is turning heads at training camp.
And might be the answer to this dilemma.
Rookie wide receiver Skyy Moore has been one of the biggest stories of Chiefs’ training camp. From earning the trust of Mahomes and the coaching staff, to being used on running plays while operating out of the backfield, Moore has many Chiefs fans believing that he could be the answer to the issue of explosive plays in the season ahead.
Here are the reasons why such belief could be warranted.
Experience against press
One of the things that stood out when studying Moore in the run-up to the 2022 NFL draft was his comfort level operating against defenders in press alignment. For many rookie wide receivers, one of the tougher aspects of the transition to the NFL is facing defenders who are better when in press alignment, and who are more physical with their press technique.
For Moore, who spent the bulk of his time in the Western Michigan offense playing on the outside, the transition might not be as difficult. His experience against press-aligned defenders, and how well he handled those moments, were critical to his evaluation. His combination of footwork, as well as his hand technique to beat attempted jams off the line, was impressive.
Our first example comes from Moore’s game against Pittsburgh, where he caught 11 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown. The TD came on this play, where Moore is aligned on the left side of the offense, with a cornerback in press alignment, using inside leverage:
What also shows up on this play is his change-of-direction skills, another way he can create explosive plays for the Chiefs. After making the catch, Moore then makes the safety miss in space, generating additional yardage after the reception.
His ability against press-aligned defenders shows up on more than slant routes. Take this big play against Kent State, where Moore beats a press-aligned defender along the left sideline in the vertical passing game:
This is a part of his game that is already showing up at training camp. While we do not have access to everything he has done in practice, this play from Tuesday stands out:
Skyy Moore. Route runner. pic.twitter.com/UJNoIHuk6u
— KC Sports Network (@KCSportsNetwork) August 9, 2022
Moore’s technique — and comfort — against press-aligned defenders will serve him well in the NFL.
Ability after the catch
(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)
Beyond how he works himself open, what Moore can do with the football in his hands provides the Chiefs another means of generating explosive plays. His change-of-direction skills, as well as his play strength make him an offensive weapon, and for an offense that could look to yardage after the catch as a means of generating explosive plays (and has done so in the past) you can see how the fit is ideal.
On this play against Northern Illinois, Moore turns a seven-yard throw into a 22-yard gain, thanks to what he does after the reception:
On this bubble screen against Pittsburgh, Moore is tasked with beating the safety in the open field.
Earlier this summer, head coach Andy Reid talked about Moore, and highlighted his route-running skills, as well as his strength. “You know what, he looks strong,” Reid said of Moore. “You see that in the way he’s built physically, but that transfers. You see those big hands he has, he catches everything. He’s a good route runner. Smart kid, seemed to pick it up well.”
That ability after the catch will be a huge plus for the Kansas City offense this season.
The fit in Kansas City
(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)
As for the fit in Kansas City? Fans might have to wait a little longer to see exactly how that might look, and while we can talk about a few things we have seen, one of the areas you can expect to see Moore used is in the quick-passing game, often working off of RPO action.
This was a big part of the Western Michigan offense last season, with Eleby often looking to target Moore quickly in the down after carrying out an RPO element in the offensive backfield. For Kansas City, this is a part of their offense as well. According to charting data from Sports Info Solutions, the Chiefs used an RPO element on 78 passing plays last season, which was third-most in the NFL. Only the Miami Dolphins and the Pittsburgh Steelers used more.
So plays like this one, which sees Moore catching the slant route off of RPO action — and showing that play-strength as he runs through a tackle attempt — might be a part of the Chiefs’ offense this season with Moore as the receiver:
Then there is something we are seeing more of from training camp.
Moore in the offensive backfield:
Skyy Moore lined up in the backfield pic.twitter.com/DwvZ3EE3DN
— KC Sports Network (@KCSportsNetwork) August 4, 2022
His combination of skills before, and after, the catch make him an intriguing offensive weapon.
And in the capable hands of Reid and Eric Bieniemy? It might make him the answer to some of their questions heading into 2022.