ESPN Packers Reporter
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Football coaches tend to speak their own language, inventing words and expressions as they go along. So when Green Bay Packers receivers coach David Raih described rookie J’Mon Moore as someone who “grabs grass,” it was met with some puzzled looks.
Even one of the most accomplished receivers in his group admitted that was a new term to him when he came into the NFL.
“That’s what they say around here,” Davante Adams said. “I had never heard that until I got here, but they use that to describe someone who’s literally moving [so fast] that they’re grabbing the grass quickly.”
It’s one of the reasons Moore has a chance – perhaps the best chance among the young receivers – to make an impact this season. Beyond the fact Moore was the highest draft pick (fourth round, No. 133 overall) among the three receivers that general manager Brian Gutekunst picked in his first draft this year, Moore appears to have acclimated himself the fastest.
Moore made a sideline catch with a high degree of difficulty in this week’s first minicamp practice and has shown the physical attributes that could give him first dibs on some of the snaps now available after the Packers cut Jordy Nelson in the offseason.
But back to that grass grabbing.
It’s a noteworthy description given the word on Moore coming out of Missouri was the potential lack of breakout speed. He ran a surprisingly slow 40 at the combine; his 4.6-second time ranked behind all but six of the 37 receivers who ran in Indianapolis. Yes, he ran faster (4.48) at his campus workout, but it was a red flag nonetheless.
The Packers, however, have not had any issue with his speed.
“He’s definitely a guy that grabs grass,” Raih said this week. “He’s got stride length, he’s high cut, and he naturally just covers ground. The main thing is knowing what he’s doing, so he can use those abilities. But yeah, I’m excited about him. I’m excited about everybody in the room.”
Fellow rookie receivers Marquez Valdes-Scantling (fifth round) and Equanimeous St. Brown (sixth) have made their share of eye-catching plays, too. St. Brown caught a 22-yard touchdown pass against first-round pick Jaire Alexander during one of the 2-minute drills this week right after Valdes-Scantling caught a short out for a first down to keep that drive alive. And then there’s Michael Clark, the 6-foot-6 former college basketball player who spent most of last season on the practice squad before he got his chance late in the season.
But Moore might be the most complete combination of size, strength and ability. He has wowed the Packers with his strength, conditioning and athleticism.
“Talk about God-given ability,” Adams said. “He has a lot of shiftiness to him. He’s a big dude. He’s like 6-3, big frame plus a lot of speed. As long as he picks everything up, he can do a lot to help us out.”
Of course, none of what Moore has shown this week has come with Aaron Rodgers on the field. Coach Mike McCarthy excused Rodgers and 15 other veterans from the mandatory minicamp because he prefers the final week of the offseason program to be focused on the young players. For Moore – or any receiver – to make his way onto the field come September and beyond, he will have to earn the trust of the quarterback.
Here’s how he plans to do that: “Just me being me,” Moore said. “Going out there, playing fast, being comfortable, knowing my assignment and just going out there not worried about too many things. Just taking it one play at a time, keeping my poise and having fun.”