Rondale Moore providing instant impact in rookie year for Cardinals

Sep 19, 2021, 6:29 PM

Rondale Moore #4 of the Arizona Cardinals runs with the after the catch for a touchdown against the...

Rondale Moore #4 of the Arizona Cardinals runs with the after the catch for a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings in the second quarter of the game at State Farm Stadium on September 19, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray was scrolling Instagram in the offseason when he came across a video package of Purdue wideout Rondale Moore burning college DBs in 1-on-1 coverage.

Murray didn’t even know Moore existed before that, but he saw the tape, and he sent that to general manager Steve Keim prior to the draft.

A few months later, Moore is making those same types of plays he did with the Boilermakers as a member of the Cardinals.

Moore had seven receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown in Sunday’s 34-33 Cardinals win over the Minnesota Vikings. The second-round pick had a team-high eight targets, and follows up on a solid five catches for 68 yards in his NFL debut.

The rookie had a couple of key plays in the game, some bigger and some smaller.

The largest catch of ’em all came late in the first half, with Murray scrambling out of the pocket to buy some time.

Murray said the Cardinals practice scramble drills every week, allowing him to build chemistry with his pass-catchers on where to be in those moments when Murray can extend plays.

“It’s something we have to be good at when [we] have quarterbacks who are mobile,” Murray said.

This one on Sunday worked out awfully well, with Moore finding a humongous amount of open space to sit in. Murray delivered the ball there and Moore would run it for a 77-yard touchdown, the first of Moore’s career.

“They went zone and they dropped me,” Moore said of the play. “And as he scrambled, I was like, ‘Hopefully he sees me.’ And then the ball’s in the air it’s like, ‘Don’t drop it.'”

He did not drop it.

The other would come a few minutes later, as Arizona had a slim chance to add a few more points before the end of the first half.

Moore caught a short pass with under 10 seconds left and still in his own territory, but as he made his way toward the sideline, he darted back upfield and made two Vikings miss.

At that point, Moore said he looked up at the clock and saw two seconds left, so he quickly hopped out of bounds.

A 62-yard field goal is a dart throw, but Arizona has the right kicker for it in Matt Prater, who drilled it for a new franchise record.

Moore was aware of how much his extra effort could mean because he also had a coincidental Instagram scroll the morning of the game when he came across a video of Prater’s 64-yarder from 2013.

“I knew a few yards would put us in a position where it would be possible,” Moore said.

While you don’t want to jump to big-time conclusions two weeks into the season, it feels safe to say that Moore will be able to contribute right away to the offense. And certainly more than Andy Isabella, a fellow second-round pick but from the 2019 NFL Draft.

Through two games, Moore’s 11 catches already best Isabella’s nine in all of 2019, and the 182 yards from Moore is nine away from the 189 mark for Isabella.

Keim went into that 2019 draft looking to give Murray weapons, picking three wideouts, with Isabella being the only one left on the roster and hanging on as the sixth wideout on the depth chart. Keim went back to the well with Moore, a selection that is already paying off and could be a real game-changer going forward.

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Rondale Moore providing instant impact in rookie year for Cardinals