D.J. Moore Primed For Even Bigger Year In 2020

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By Sports Radio WFNZ

Carolina Panthers third-year wide receiver D.J. Moore had a breakout year in 2019 as a sophomore.

But he and Carolina's new head coach Matt Rhule believe there is even more untapped potential.

“D.J. has to take another step this year and be that dominant, physical go-to receiver on third-and-five that you’re going to, and in the red zone that you’re going to,” Rhule said last week. “Take the best matchup of the other team’s best corner and just dominate it... that’s the step that he has to take.”

Rhule may be new to Carolina, but he's seen the talent that Moore has for quite some time. 

He recruited Moore when he was in high school in Philadelphia to play at Temple but Moore ultimately chose to play at Maryland.

"He told me that he just wanted me to best player that he seen me growing up, from recruiting me in high school until now," Moore said. "So now it's just, continue being you, but take it to the next level every year."

Drafted in the first round of the 2018 draft, Moore, 23, did his best to prove he can be the Panthers number one receiver last year, racking up 1,175 receiving yards in 14 games.

In a division that is full of elite receivers such as Mike Evans, Michael Thomas, Chris Godwin and Julio Jones, it could be said that Moore was overlooked as he didn't make the Pro Bowl. 

"Whenever you don't make something it always gives you a chip," Moore said on Tuesday.

Moore pointed out that running back Christian McCaffrey didn't make the Pro Bowl in 2018 but improved even more in 2019.

"When you have multiple weapons – from me, to Curtis, to Robby, to Seth (Roberts), to Ian (Thomas) to even C-Mac (McCaffrey) in the running back room...if somebody just hones in on one player, it's going to be opening up other people," Moore said. "We all just have different skillsets, and we know how to hone in on them and when to use them."

"When I saw that, he had a big chip, and then he went out and did his thing...of course, there's always going to be a chip when you don't make something that you think you should make," Moore added. "So it's just going to make you go harder for the next year."

Moore will be in a new offense under new offensive coordinator Joe Brady and that will allow him to spread out more and not be the sole focus alongside receiver Curtis Samuel and newly-signed Robby Anderson.

He'll also have a new quarterback throwing him the ball in Teddy Bridgewater, and even though there hasn't been much time to get to know him, he says he's a "cool dude."

"Right now I feel like everybody just gathering to him," Moore said. "He got a real friendly personality and it's rubbing off on everybody so that's the best thing right now. How he fits in Joe Brady’s offense? Right now, we are still learning it all together. So we are just going to take it one day at a time and get better and better.”

Moore knows that it's a work in progress and is ready for that challenge.

“Hard work and dedication,” Moore said. “Just doing what I set out for myself to do. You gotta win more games for people to even notice us. To me, to C-Mac (McCaffrey) – although he is already known, but he wants to be better – to Curtis (Samuel), to Robby (Anderson)....everybody wants to make a name for themselves.”

It's early, but if Moore keeps this mindset, he could be in for another big year in Carolina.

"It's only day two right now so the whole offense is excited to see what we can do," Moore said. "As a group, we're just excited to see who's going to make different plays and what play went down... it's just something that we're learning. Now, from the two days, I'd say it's going to be nice."