After a productive stint with the Panthers, D.J. Moore is on the move this year. Moore was reportedly a non-negotiable piece the Bears wanted to be included in the package Carolina sent them for the first overall pick. Reception Perception shows the Bears are getting a rock-solid No. 1 receiver who instantly improves a problem position for their offense.

Success Rate by Route

Route Percentage

Success Rate vs. Coverage

After some growing pains as a route-runner early in his NFL career, Moore has developed into a versatile and strong separator regardless of pre-snap location.

Moore has hovered between 70 and 71.9% success rate vs. man coverage in each of the last three seasons and has cleared 80% success rate vs. zone in three of the last four. His 72.2% success rate vs. press coverage from 2022 is the best mark of his career.

Reception Perception’s metrics are the perfect tools to show the quality of player Moore is when isolated from his disastrous quarterback play.

Despite long stretches of poor production, you could argue that 2022 was one of D.J. Moore’s best seasons. He showed consistent separation across the route tree, something he hadn’t always strung together in previous seasons. In addition, teams knew Moore was the only game in town for the Panthers. He was doubled on a whopping 17.5% of his routes (more than double his previous career-high) and still posted some of his best success rate vs. coverage scores.

Moore checked with a success rate vs. coverage score at or above the NFL average on all but one route. Moore can turn cornerbacks around or cross their face on in-breaking routes like the slant and dig. That’s always been where he does some of his best work. I’ve been particularly impressed with his growth on out-breaking routes. He’s really developed excellent timing when it comes to snapping off out routes. He’ll make some big plays down the field on those patterns in Chicago.

Moore is pretty underrated as a vertical receiver and as an athlete overall. His best season as a pure vertical X-receiver was his 2020 campaign but last year with the Panthers he was used on deep routes as a flanker. That allowed him to get more buildup speed with cleaner releases. He’s well equipt to stack and get on top of defenders in man coverage on go routes.

The contested catch game has always been a strength for Moore. His 75% contested catch rate from this past season is actually the lowest of his career, and that’s saying something because 75% is a well above-average result. Moore’s 93.3% catch rate from 2019 is the second-best in Reception Perception database (2014-2022). Moore is more than comfortable winning the ball in tight coverage.

In addition to his contested catch prowess, Moore also did not drop a pass in his Reception Perception sample. Justin Fields did not play with a single receiver who had reliable hands last year, especially in traffic. He has one now.

The one area I’ll be curious to track for Moore in Chicago is his deployment. He’s shown the ability to play all three positions in Carolina. He’s spent some seasons as a full-time X-receiver but I think he really thrives when allowed to play off the line and move around between the flanker and slot. He has the vertical route-running to be a stretch downfield threat at X but he also has so much big-play potential on slants and in-breakers as a flanker or slot against zone coverage. There isn’t really a wrong answer for the Bears, each option just presents more fascinating possibilities.

One sector I’d like to see the Bears get more out of Moore is after the catch. Moore showed early on in his career he was one of the most dangerous run after catch players in the league but the Matt Rhule-led staff rarely put him in a position to show off those skills the last three seasons. Last year, Moore was “in space” on a mere 5.3% of his routes but went down on first contact on just 38.5% of those chances.

Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy came off the Matt LaFleur Packers trees and those offenses did so much to get Davante Adams the ball in space, especially when he was lined up off the line of scrimmage. Let’s get some of those plays installed for Moore and we can awaken some still untapped upside in his game.

Overall, Reception Perception does not view D.J. Moore in the same elite tier it ranked guys like Stefon Diggs or A.J. Brown prior to their respective trades but this move for the Bears falls under that category. This is an organization trying to get the best out of its young quarterback and swinging big to get a legit No. 1 receiver. Moore fits the bill as a true No. 1 receiver and can have that same transformative effect even if he’s just a bit farther down the rankings than Diggs was in Minnesota or Brown in Tennessee. The Bears hit a homerun by getting Moore tossed into the package for the No. 1 overall pick and secured Justin Fields a guy he can finally trust to beat man, settle down in zone and win the ball in tight spaces.

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