ARLINGTON, TEXAS – On April 26 in Arlington, Texas, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stepped to the podium at AT&T Stadium and said, “With the 24th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers select DJ Moore.”
Moore had an impressive career at the University of Maryland and was the first wide receiver taken in the 2018 NFL Draft. It was also the first time a Maryland receiver was selected in the opening round since wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was taken seventh overall by the Oakland Raiders in 2009.
“I’m thrilled to be a Carolina Panther,” Moore said. “When that phone rang, and I knew I was being selected, it was a special moment for my family and me.
“So much hard work and sacrifice from so many went into this becoming a reality. I want to thank God, my family, especially my mom, my coaches and teammates for helping me along this journey. I’m going to enjoy this moment but can’t wait to get to Carolina to start preparing for the season.”
Moore’s hard work showed through his play on the field in College Park. He was named the 2017 Big Ten Receiver of the Year as one of just three receivers in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) to post at least 80 receptions, 1,000 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in 2017. He ended his career at Maryland with 146 receptions for 2,027 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns.
“The Panthers are getting a special player and person,” Maryland Head Coach DJ Durkin said. “I could not be more proud and excited for DJ and his family. I’ve seen firsthand how much hard work he’s put into becoming a great player and teammate. We’re thrilled to have him representing the Terps on Sundays.”
Moore is headed to a Panthers team that was ranked 28th in passing yards per game and 19th in passing touchdowns just a year ago. Moore’s combination of size, speed, quick feet and strong hands should help Carolina’s numbers change next season.
Former Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith, who has the franchise record for receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns thinks that Moore is the answer they needed.
“I think he can run any route on the route tree,” Smith said about Moore. “A Ph.D. in route running. He can line up in the slot, and he can line up outside. He’s elusive, he will run through you, and he will run away from you. If you really want to know the truth about how I feel, the Panthers have never been able to replace me, until today. DJ Moore will be with that organization for a long time, and I look forward to talking about him.”
Four rounds later, Moore’s teammate, and Fort Washington native Jermaine Carter, Jr., was selected with the 161st pick by the Carolina Panthers as well.
“I just got drafted, man….God is so good. Won’t forgot those who said I wouldn’t,” Carter tweeted on his personal Twitter account.
Carter was the anchor of the UMD defense and led them in tackles for the past three seasons, in which he had a total of 294 tackles. Although he did not get invited to the official NFL Combine, he showed out at Maryland’s Pro Day with a 4.68-second 40-yard dash time, 34.5-inch vertical jump, and a 4.28-second 20-yard shuttle.
“(Moore) actually was the first player to reach out to me, even before (the Panthers) gave me the call and before I got drafted,” Carter said. “He told me he thought (the Panthers) would eventually take me. I’m honestly not sure how he knew, but he said he was on a visit and some guys were asking about me. And he wasn’t lying.”
Both of these standouts have proven that they can play at the collegiate level well as teammates. Now, it is time for the Maryland duo, turned Carolina duo, to show why the Panthers drafted them.