49ers NFL Draft: Rondale Moore is a perfect Kyle Shanahan wide receiver
By Peter Panacy
The 49ers are likely looking at slot wide receivers in the NFL Draft, and Purdue’s Rondale Moore checks off the boxes for Kyle Shanahan.
There’s a heavy chance the San Francisco 49ers will be looking for wide receivers in the 2021 NFL Draft.
While already having their top two wideouts set, Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel, the Niners depth chart at the position is a little thin behind those two. Particularly after losing one of their top productive receivers from the last four years, Kendrick Bourne, in free agency to the New England Patriots.
San Francisco won’t be in on top-end wide receivers in this year’s draft like LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase or Alabama’s DeVonta Smith, as its No. 3 overall pick will be used on a quarterback. But given the 2021 class’ depth at the position, there’s an awfully big chance head coach Kyle Shanahan turns to day two to onboard another wide receiver to bolster the roster.
And Shanahan should look no further than Purdue pass-catcher Rondale Moore.
NFL.com’s Gil Brandt compared Moore to another player who would have been perfect in Shanahan’s offense, now-Washington Football Team wide receiver Curtis Samuel, whom Niner Noise thought would be a fantastic free-agent fit:
"Though Samuel and Moore clocked the exact same 40 time (4.31 seconds), Moore’s profile doesn’t map perfectly on to Samuel’s — Samuel is more of a straight-ahead guy, whereas Moore is a nimbler, more agile receiver. At Purdue’s pro day, Moore outperformed Samuel’s combine numbers in the vertical jump (42 1/2 inches for Moore, 37 for Samuel), broad jump (10-6 to 9-9), short shuttle (4.1 to 4.3) and three-cone (an excellent 6.68 for Moore, compared to 7.09 for Samuel)."
The pro-day numbers for Moore were outstanding, and one could easily make the argument Moore is far shiftier a route-runner than Samuel is right now.
And that’s only one reason why Moore would be a great fit in San Francisco.
Kyle Shanahan, 49ers could use Rondale Moore in a number of ways
True, the 5-foot-9 and 180-pound Moore is a bit undersized and carries some injury risks, namely from his 2019 season and also his choice to opt out for part of 2020, which limited his on-field production primarily to his amazing 2018 campaign as a freshman.
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference
The receiving and rushing numbers should be one thing catching the eye.
Shanahan has long since shifted to more of a positionless offense, which is how he’s frequently used Deebo Samuel the last two years, featuring him on end-arounds and jet sweeps, not unlike how the Carolina Panthers utilized Curtis Samuel, too.
But as Moore’s NFL.com draft profile breaks down, the prospect wideout is awfully polished as a route-runner and has a great tendency to thrive in option routes, which is yet another staple of Shanahan’s West Coast-hybrid offense.
And as shown in some of the highlights below, particularly against Ohio State, Moore displayed the desired traits of speed, shiftiness and even some physicality after getting the ball in his hands:
Those are yet more reasons why Moore would be an excellent fit. He’s more than capable of creating separation from the defense, then using his abilities to generate yards after the catch.
Sounds like yet another tailor-made 49ers player.
True, Moore’s size could work against him at the pro level, although Shanahan has never totally prioritized size as a No. 1 trait. Instead, speed and good route-running skills matter more here.
And Moore has those in bunches.
It’s likely Moore will drop in the NFL Draft a bit, primarily due to his relative lack of experience the past two seasons and the worries about whether or not his size can withstand the rigors of being a featured player within the pro ranks.
As such, Moore likely winds up being nothing more than a Round 2 pick with a very strong possibility he slips into the third round, potentially even towards the end of it where the Niners currently own a compensatory pick.
If Moore slips to that point, or Shanahan and the 49ers are feeling a little aggressive, Moore would be well worth a day-two investment and can be someone who can drastically bolster San Francisco’s offense.