The New York Jets’ showstopping rookie receiver has found a special form of motivation going into his NFL debut.
The names are on his mirror in black ink. The first thingÂ Elijah MooreÂ sees each morning, last before falling asleep
Chase. Waddle. Smith. Toney. Bateman
The #Jets rookie refuses to forget those wideouts drafted before him
— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) August 5, 2021
Michael Jordan took things personally and it appears Elijah Moore is about to do the same.
Speaking with The Athletic’s Connor Hughes, the New York Jets’ rookie receiver unveiled a new brand of motivation going into his first professional campaign. Before Moore descends upon Jets training camp, his focus lingers on his hotel room’s bathroom mirror, where the names of five fellow first-year receivers dwell on a piece of paper. Each was chosen ahead of him during the 2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland.
Moore was labeled a first round choice out of Mississippi in many mock drafts going into April’s proceedings but was not among the five receivers that went within the first 32 picks. Those honors instead went to Ja’Marr Chase (Cincinnati), Jaylen Waddle (Miami), DeVonta Smith (Philadelphia), Kadarius Toney (NY Giants), and Rashod Bateman (Baltimore).
These names are the last things he sees before he departs for Florham Park. Hughes’ report dictates that Moore will also speak them aloud before he makes the short trip to One Jets Drive.
“A chip (on my shoulder)? You could say that,” Moore told Hughes. “I think I’m the best. God doesn’t make any mistakes, but yeah, I’m going to show them why I should’ve gone first.”
Chosen 34th overall, the second pick of the second round, Moore’s selection is nonetheless historically high from a Jets perspective, as he’s the highest receiver the Jets have chosen in the draft since Santana Moss went at No. 16 in 2001. He’s been well worth the wait, turning into one of fellow rookie Zach Wilson’s favorite targets as training camp rolls on.
— Optimistic Jets (@OptimisticJets) July 31, 2021
Moore’s early returns have yielded positive reviews both domestically and abroad. An agile victory against cornerback Corey Ballentine in training drew Instagram praise from both Odell Beckham Jr. and A.J. Brown. The latter is quite familiar with what Moore can bring to the table, as they spent a season together in Oxford, while Beckham labeled Moore “special” in a tweet from March.
The Jets are all too pleased with what the Moore experience has done to their offense in the early going.
“He wants to be as good as he could possibly be,” offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur said of Moore this week, per notes from the Jets. “Heâ€™s just ultra-prepared, he knows what heâ€™s doing. Heâ€™s extremely detailed, thatâ€™s whatâ€™s cool about him because when he makes a mistake or he doesnâ€™t know what heâ€™s doing, he just flat out doesnâ€™t know what heâ€™s doing.”
“He rarely makes the same mistake, if ever. Heâ€™s just on top of his stuff, heâ€™s a talented young man. Itâ€™s cool because as heâ€™s learning this scheme you can tell that heâ€™s getting comfortable and his skillset can really shine through.”
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags