Rapid reactions: Cardinals use 2nd-round pick on WR Rondale Moore
The Arizona Cardinals added another wide receiver to the mix.
With their second-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Steve Keim and Co. selected Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore.
Moore, listed at 5-foot-7, 181 pounds, recorded 114 receptions for 1,258 receiving yards, rushed for 213 yards and had 14 touchdowns from scrimmage. He played just seven games over his final two collegiate seasons.
Arizona Sports’ hosts and editors gave their thoughts on the pick.
Vince Marotta, Co-host of Bickley & Marotta
He’s not a cornerback, the position that I was hoping the Cardinals would address with the 49th overall pick, but it’s hard not to be excited about Rondale Moore coming to Arizona.
Think of it this way: A 5-foot-7 receiver who missed the majority of the last two seasons with injury is still a second-round pick. That just goes to show you how amazing he was as a freshman at Purdue when he caught 114 passes for 1,258 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Moore should flourish in the slot, but realistically, his arrival further indicates that Larry Fitzgerald isn’t coming back (at least for the beginning of the season) and could push 2019 second-round pick Andy Isabella out the door, too.
Kevin Zimmerman, ArizonaSports.com editor and reporter
I’m sure others in this roundtable will touch on the other priorities yet to be addressed at cornerback, tight end, defensive line and running back. But let’s stick to what this is telling us.
Paired with the A.J. Green acquisition that should move Christian Kirk to the inside, this signals a few things: 1) Larry Fitzgerald sure doesn’t appear to be in the plans 2) Andy Isabella and KeeSean Johnson might not make it onto the 53-man roster and 3) The third year of Kliff Kingsbury will allow the head coach to be himself.
That third item is the most intriguing. New receivers coach Shawn Jefferson and Kingsbury will be tasked with refreshing how Arizona uses its wideouts. Without a pass-catching tight end as of now, it appears that a lot will ride on four-receiver sets. Moore in theory should allow them to take the top off vertically and take the doors off horizontally. For Keim’s sake, the pick can’t go south in a year where they’re leaving notable roster holes in order to supply the head coach with enough talent to prove himself.
Dave Burns, co-host of Burns & Gambo
I want to love this pick more. Everything about Moore gives you the goosebumps about how he can fit into this offense and the wow factor he brings. It seems to be a perfect addition.
But there are a couple of concerns.
First and foremost is another year, another wide receiver taken in the second round. If the Cards could hit on one of these picks, they wouldn’t have to keep devoting resources to it. They’ve spent so much capital on the receiver position yet they’re struggling to find guys who can fit what they’re looking for, outside of DeAndre Hopkins of course.
But mostly it’s the cornerback spot. By not drafting one here they’ve put themselves in the position of having to get another corner in free agency, where the options are pretty thin. And by not drafting one they don’t have a young cornerback around which to build for the future. It’s a precarious spot moving forward both in the short term and the long term. Eventually they’re going to hit it out of the park with one of these wide receiver draft picks. Moore certainly seems like he could be that guy.
John Gambadoro, co-host of Burns & Gambo
When the second round started, I had focused on a few cornerbacks and wide receivers. Asante Samuel, Tyson Campbell, Aaron Robinson were the options at corner and Rondale Moore, Terrace Marshall and Elijah Moore the wide receivers.
With Elijah Moore, Samuel and Campbell off the board, we were down to three players: Rondale Moore, Marshall and Robinson. And there really wasn’t any doubt in my mind they liked Rondale the best. Comparisons to Tyreek Hill? Are you kidding me? Sign me up.
Look, this is an indication that Andy Isabella did not work out, but it’s better to move on from mistakes than compound them. Moore gives Kliff Kingsbury a dynamic playmaker out of the slot. A player who is hard to tackle and could be a matchup nightmare. A cornerback would have been nice, and if Samuel was on the board, I would have wanted him. But the Hopkins, Green, Moore and Kirk combination at wideout can be very very dangerous.
Tyler Drake, ArizonaSports.com editor and reporter
With Asante Samuel Jr. off the board, the Cardinals went out and added a versatile wideout who can double as a return man in Moore. If there wasn’t already pressure on Andy Isabella and KeeSean Johnson, there certainly is now. The Cardinals need to find a steady fourth option that can slide in behind the trio of DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green and Christian Kirk. Based on the Cardinals’ last discussion with the WR, which was about a month ago, it appears they feel he can fill the need.
Cornerback is obviously still a position of need for Arizona. Do they add depth in the later rounds or head back into the free agency waters? We should have a better idea Saturday.
Luke Lapinski, Host of The Rundown with Luke Lapinski
Any concerns I have with this pick don’t really have anything to do with Rondale Moore. He’s an exciting player with the potential to be electrifying in this offense. I’d assume this pick means Andy Isabella’s future with the team is questionable at best, and every time Arizona adds a receiver you can’t help but wonder if it’s a sign maybe they know something about Larry Fitzgerald’s plans.
Either way, adding a receiver makes a lot of sense for the Cardinals. There’s some risk here – Moore’s not a big target and he has only played seven games since 2018 – but that doesn’t mean he won’t be an impact player. I respect the front office being decisive and going with the guy they had highest on their board. Reaching at another position based purely on need can be dangerous. Especially in a draft.
That said, if you had told me we’d get through the first two rounds without the Cards taking a corner I would’ve called you crazy. So here’s hoping JJ Watt, Chandler Jones, Markus Golden and the rest of those pass rushers get to opposing quarterbacks so quickly and relentlessly that they don’t even have time to look at the Cardinals’ secondary.