I love a good undrafted rookie free agent story. It’s easy to root for the underdog, and nobody in the NFL has the odds stacked against them like the hundreds of undrafted rookies who flood team rosters immediately after the draft ends.
Back in 2014 the Panthers signed Andrew Norwell, an undrafted rookie guard out of Ohio State. Norwell not only emerged as a starter in his first season but went on to be a four-year impact player in Carolina, including being a major part of the 15-1 team that made the Super Bowl in 2015 then later earning All-Pro honors in 2017. He ended up signing a 5-year, $66.5 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Fast forward to 2021 and the Panthers have signed five UDFAs, including Grambling State guard David Moore. Based on some of the research I’ve done he seems to be one of those players that if Carolina had drafted him in the seventh round he would’ve been considered a steal. But since he went undrafted, he’s flown beneath the radar and isn’t getting much hype.
Many of the seven round mock drafts had him getting selected in the middle to late rounds. CBS had him going in the fourth round at No. 123 overall while The Draft Network also had him as a fourth rounder being selected at No. 136. NFL.com had Moore being selected in the sixth round at No. 190 while Walter Football ranked him as the No. 9 guard prospect in his class, placing him six spots above Alabama’s Deonte Brown whom the Panthers drafted in the sixth round. Many national draft pundits had David Moore as a draftable talent, though NFL front offices apparently disagreed.
While Carolina has bolstered its interior offensive line via free agency and the draft, I think Moore could make the practice squad and even end up on the 53-man roster before the end of the season. That might not be Andrew Norwell level of UDFA awesomeness, but it’s far better than the fate of nearly every other undrafted rookie.
At 6-foot-1 and somewhere between 330 and 350 pounds (depending on the site), he’s got a squat, powerful frame. His Relative Athletic Score (RAS) of 6.81 is pretty good and significantly higher than Deonte Brown’s 1.48. Rumor has it that Moore can do a backflip and even dunk a basketball, which is pretty impressive for a man of his girth. He didn’t play in 2020 as Grambling’s season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the layoff might have contributed to him going undrafted. But he did play in the 2020 Senior Bowl where coach Matt Rhule got to see him in action. Per the Panthers website, Rhule even experimented with Moore at center during their time together in Mobile. Perhaps the Panthers coaching staff saw enough from him that they could envision him playing either guard or center.
I haven’t broken down David Moore’s tape from 2019 (nor will I), but what I do know has me intrigued. He’s a player who many draft experts pegged as being selected somewhere between the fourth and sixth rounds. Matt Rhule recently coached him in the Senior Bowl and liked what he saw enough that the Panthers are giving Moore a chance. Carolina, like most teams, needs depth across the interior offensive line, so Moore will get a fair shot at a roster spot.
While it’s rare for UDFAs to make a 53-man roster, I think David Moore has a legitimate chance.
I’ll be rooting for him.