The greats of the wide receiver position have had their eyes on D.J. Moore from the very moment that he was made the first WR chosen in the 2018 Draft by the Carolina Panthers. Just moments after the pick was made, Panthers legend Steve Smith boldly declared that the Panthers had finally managed to replace him.
Having spent the bulk of his outstanding career with the Minnesota Vikings, Pro Football Hall of Famer Cris Carter doesn’t have nearly the same ties to the Carolinas that Smith does. But nonetheless, Carter had had his eye on the Panthers’ budding star, and is encouraged by what he sees.
Speaking with SB Nation’s Cat Scratch Reader, Carter stated that he is impressed with both the strength and physicality that Moore brings to the wide receiver position, and has taken particular note of how good Moore’s releases off the line of scrimmage are.
“You can’t get open if you can’t get off the line,” said Carter. “And D.J. Moore does that.”
With Smith’s proclamation about Moore in mind, Carter cautioned that Moore doesn’t necessarily remind him of Smith at the beginning of his career. Rather, he believes that Moore is closer to what Smith was around the midway point of his playing days – and that he and quarterback Cam Newton can be a “special” combination.
With that being said, Carter curiously told Cat Scratch Reader that he would like to see Moore be able to take over a game – Which he was able to do in Week 11 against the Detroit Lions, where he caught seven passes for 157 yards and a touchdown, with an 82-yard catch-and-run that he was one block away from scoring on.
Still, Carter believes that Moore’s development will continue as he and Newton take more reps together and work on their chemistry and timing among other things – Which is an issue now, given that Newton continues to be limited in practice as he manages the shoulder soreness that has developed down the stretch of the season. While Carter is not overtly concerned with Newton’s health, attributing it to the simply wear-and-tear that shows up once December rolls around, he does believe that Newton’s shoulder issue isn’t an ideal situation for Moore.
“Cam Newton might not need those reps (in practice), but D.J. Moore needs those reps,” said Carter.
As he enters the final four games of the regular season with 42 catches for 609 yards and two touchdowns, Moore is taking his first step in chasing the marks set by the NFL’s greatest receivers, such as Carter. Playing from 1987 until 2002, mostly for the Vikings, Carter caught a total of 1,101 passes for 13,899 yards and 130 receiving touchdowns. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013.