As the Kansas City Chiefs prepare for the 2022 NFL Draft in Las Vegas from April 28-30, we’re taking a look at some of the players the team could be targeting with their 12 draft picks: Round 1 (29 and 30), Round 2 (50 and 62), Round 3 (94 and 103), Round 4 (121 and 135) and Round 7 (233, 243, 251 and 259).
In the wake of last month’s blockbuster trade that sent superstar wide receiver Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins, analysts have pondered what the Chiefs might do to replace him. Consequently, almost every published mock draft has the Chiefs selecting a receiver at pick 29 or 30 (or trading up into the first round for one of the other top options).
One prospect who has increasingly been projected to the Chiefs at the end of Round 1 is Western Michigan’s Skyy Moore, who emerged as one of the big winners of this year’s NFL Combine — and is almost universally considered a top-50 pick.
Let’s take a look at what the Chiefs would be gaining if they were to use an early pick on Moore.
After playing quarterback and cornerback in high school, Moore came to Western Michigan as a three-star recruit. He played in 30 Broncos games across three seasons, ending his college career with 171 catches for 2,482 yards and 16 touchdowns. Moore started as a true freshman, averaging 15.7 yards per reception.
Because the Mid-American Conference played a COVID-shortened six-game schedule in 2020, his cumulative stats are much lower than is typical for a three-year starter. Moore hauled in 95 catches and scored ten touchdowns during his final season in Kalamazoo. He was twice named as a first-team All-MAC selection.
At the combine, Moore posted solid numbers: a 4.41 40-yard dash, a 34.5-inch vertical jump and a 7.13 time in the three-cone drill. While his 5-foot-10, 195-pound frame does not stand out, he created buzz with hands that measured 10 1⁄4 inches. By far, they were the largest measured among invited receivers. In fact, Moore’s hands are larger than all quarterbacks measured at the combine — and Russell Wilson of the Denver Broncos is the only active starting quarterback with hands as large as Moore’s.
While hand size is frequently mocked in the pre-draft process, Moore’s large hands are nonetheless intriguing because it has the potential to open up more outside routes than a receiver his size typically sees.
College film evaluation
If the Chiefs select a receiver like Moore, that player will inevitably be compared to Hill. That is unfortunate. While Moore has plenty of playmaking potential, he will never be mistaken for the former Kansas City star.
If the Chiefs take Skyy Moore (or any smaller receiver) he is going to be unfairly compared to Tyreek Hill. Moore does not have Hill's speed, but he can still kick it into high gear when needed, like on this 74 yard catch and run touchdown. pic.twitter.com/wgc0gVX6D4— Jared Sapp (@TrumanChief) April 22, 2022
On this play, Moore runs through what is likely a borderline illegal contact happening more than five yards off the line of scrimmage. But he stays true to his route, catches the ball on the run and takes it for a 74-yard touchdown.
While Moore will definitely face faster secondary players at the next level, his 40-yard dash time suggests that his vertical speed will adequately translate to the NFL. Even as the level of competition rises, any play where a quarterback can find him in motion will still have the potential for a big gain.
Moore’s calling card is the advanced route-running that helps him gain separation. He has good — though not elite — long speed to make himself dangerous after the catch. But Kansas City fans will need to remember that Hill was a one-of-a-kind player who cannot easily be replaced. This is particularly obvious after the catch when it’s clear that most receivers are quite unlike Hill.
Skyy Moore runs a great route and picks up a first down. Yet it also hits home what the Chiefs will miss about Tyreek Hill. Moore is not a threat to cut back inside and potentially gain 20 more yards. The Chiefs will not replicate how deadly Hill is with the ball in his hands. pic.twitter.com/FBrf41z0dP— Jared Sapp (@TrumanChief) April 22, 2022
Fans who aren’t used to Hill’s magic will find this catch-and-run tantalizing. Moore is exactly where he is supposed to be, fooling the defender with misdirection before cutting back outside. He is able to turn a six-yard pass into a 20-yard gain. At the last moment, however, Moore runs out of bounds, bypassing an opportunity to cut back inside and potentially double the yardage on the play.
As the Chiefs redesign their offense, they will find that few players possess the same vision and quick decision-making skills that Hill has demonstrated — which can make the most of these kinds of tiny openings.
But like Hill, Moore is excellent at playing through coverage and tracking the ball under tough circumstances. It remains to be seen whether the combine hand size that raised his draft profile will aid him against much better competition at the next level.
I like watching Skyy Moore play through tight coverage and not lose track of the ball. He makes this sideline grab against good coverage by Toledo cornerback Samuel Womack, who had a top-30 visit with the Chiefs. pic.twitter.com/9KJyePLZuy— Jared Sapp (@TrumanChief) April 22, 2022
On this play, Moore lines up outside to run a vertical route — which, because of his height, is something he is unlikely to do very often in the NFL. Still, he does a great job of playing through very good coverage to track the ball more than 30 yards downfield.
Any team with a loaded offense would be able to find matchups like these that Moore could exploit. The cornerback shown here — Samuel Womack of Toledo — reportedly came to Kansas City on an official Top-30 visit.
Moore is likely to have a long pro career because he shows the willingness to do the little things. Even if he never becomes a star, his route-running gives him a high floor as a contributor.
Route running is route running, even against lesser competition. Play after play you see Moore put himself in the perfect spot to make a play. He would be a great compliment to the larger receivers the Chiefs have brought in for Patrick Mahomes pic.twitter.com/9mFg6seEA7— Jared Sapp (@TrumanChief) April 25, 2022
In recent years, the Chiefs have rarely targeted a receiver (at least one not named Travis Kelce) on short routes in the middle of the field. As the team’s tight end enters the last portion of his career, however, Kansas City will need to find other players who can make those tough catches in heavy traffic — just as Moore does in this play.
How he fits with the Chiefs
As we have often noted, the Chiefs’ wide receiver group is a mystery after 2022; only Marquez Valdes-Scantling is under contract for 2023.
At his size, Moore is much smaller than the other receivers Kansas City has targeted this offseason — although that could mean he can provide a complement to them. Moore can be a dependable target that quarterback Patrick Mahomes could use in a large portion of the team’s plays. But after years of seeing him throw to a Hall of Fame talent, Chiefs fans will need to temper their expectations; Moore compares to Emmanuel Sanders much better than he does to Hill.
The bottom line
With such uncertainty at wide receiver in 2023 — and with the free-agent market value for the position exploding — the Chiefs will need to add at least one starting-caliber player early in the draft. While he is not likely to develop into a high-end, No. 1 wideout, Moore has a good chance to be a solid starter who enjoys a long career.
Moore should hear his name called within the first two rounds — and legitimately could be selected during Thursday’s first 32 picks. If there is a run on receivers before the Chiefs pick, he could be an option for one of the team’s two first-round selections — or he could be pursued with a trade-up from the second round’s 50th pick.