a.j. brown elijah moore jets offensive rookie of the year
Syndication: The Record

Rookie Jets wide receiver Elijah Moore carries a ton of potential and could utilize his talents in a multitude of roles.

It’s 2021’s version of the National Football League — on-field versatility is crucial.

Coaches prefer players who aren’t limited; players who can employ numerous traits and succeed in various ways. Just look at how many teams are leaning more towards quarterbacks who are mobile and athletic instead of the traditional pocket passer.

But that certain football-related quality and the overwhelming desire for it don’t just stop at the most important position on the field. We’re upon an era in which athletic slot receivers are also heavily valued because of the specific trait.

Jets second-round draft pick Elijah Moore finds himself in this group of wideouts.

“He’s a dynamic young man,” head coach Robert Saleh told Connor Hughes of The Athletic Thursday. “One of the things that’s really been great for him, not that it’s been a surprise, but to see it actually happen, what makes those guys difficult to defend is he can line up as Z, F, or X. He can line up wherever you want, and he’s going to execute it at a very high level, even though the routes might be a little bit different, the stems might be different, the releases might be a little bit different.

“He’s showcasing his ability to be as versatile as possible, in terms of being at different parts of the field, being at different positions, understanding what needs to get done so when the ball gets to his hands he can still do what he does best, and that’s run after the catch. That part is what makes it very difficult to defend those types of players, and we’re excited to have him. His work ethic is off the charts. His mindset is off the charts. We’re excited to continue working with him so we can see him get better.”

There’s a possibility fans won’t just see Moore when Zach Wilson and the rest of the offensive unit are additionally on the field.

The first-year player returned 27 punts and 12 kicks during his collegiate tenure at Ole Miss. He only returned three punts and zero kicks during his 2020 junior campaign, but could Elijah enhance his skills in that department and find himself in that role once again?

“He’s got a heck of a skillset,” special teams coordinator Brant Boyer additionally told Hughes. “I think his biggest improvement, he’s going to have to learn how to track the balls a little better. He has fantastic hands, he’s got everything that you’re looking for with quickness and the dynamic short-area burst and everything like that. His tracking just needs a little cleanup, but I think he’s going to be a very, very, very good player in this league. I think the kid has a bright future. He’s a self-starter, he’s a worker. There are two [rookies] in here at 6:30 in the morning on their own [Moore and running back Michael Carter], working by themselves. I think it’s fantastic that they are doing that. Young kids that get how this business works.”

Taking into consideration the notable investment the Jets made in Moore, the No. 34 overall selection of this year’s draft should be one of the top playmakers of the entire roster. That’s not to say he’ll be the only one though — the organization brought in a number of guys to assist in the (hopeful) improvement of the offense as a whole, including then-free-agent wide receivers Corey Davis and Keelan Cole in March.

Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.