PISCATAWAY, NJ - OCTOBER 08: Kashif Moore #82 of the Connecticut Huskies runs a reception in for a second-quarter touchdown past David Rowe #4 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Rutgers Stadium on October 8, 2010 in Piscataway, New Jersey. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
UConn wide receiver Kashif Moore was one of the breakout stars of the Combine. He ran a 4.42 40 yard dash, had the best vertical jump of any wide receiver, and posted the fourth best broad jump. At 5'9" and 180 pounds, he is not a huge target, but these impressive measurables put him on the map and greatly improved his stock. Moore had 41 catches for 604 yards, which is not half bad considering UConn has had suspect quarterback play since Dan Orlovsky graduated after the 2004 season.
Kashif was kind enough to speak with me about the Draft process. Join us under the jump.
John B: What was your most challenging drill at the Combine?
Kashif Moore: I would say the 40 yard dash. I was ready to get on the field and do all the football things. After all of the interviews and the medical process at the hospital, I was ready to get on the football field. The football stuff was a release and relaxing, but the 40 is something that is really big for wide receivers and something everybody has their eye on. You want to be able to have your fastest time at the Combine and run as well as you can run.
JB: How did you train for the Combine?
KM: Evan Rodriguez and I were roommates in Bradenton, Florida, at Athletic Edge. We came out of high school in the same year, 2007. I had heard of him and seen him at camps.`He knew of me also, but we never really had the chance to meet each other in person. He was my roommate for two and a half months, and we became very close. It's crazy how things work out. From day one, he told me, and I told him we were going to push each other and get better every single day. That's what we did.
JB: You work your entire life for the chance to be drafted, but so much of it comes down to one event, the Combine. Talk about the pressure of it.
KM: I was pretty nervous. Nervous is always a good thing for me, though. I always get nerves before any competitive thing I do. I knew what I had to do. I came in with one thing on my mind. I felt like I was a man on a mission. I just wanted to maximize my opportunities.
JB: Talk about the process of selecting an agent.
KM: Sometimes during your college career you get contacted by agents. Most guys wait until their eligibility is gone to figure out who they are going to go with. That's something I did. I evaluated everyone after my last game. It's a hard process because guys tell you this and that, but you don't really know anything about these guys. Sometimes you hear bad stories about guys picking the wrong type of agent. It's good to go with somebody you hear good things about. My agent, Ed Wasielweski is a great guy. I heard a lot of good things about him before I even interviewed him for the job through some former players at UConn who signed him.
JB: How much do you think having a head coach at UConn in Paul Pasqualoni, who used to be an NFL assistant, your senior year will help prepare you for the pro game?
KM: I think it helps a ton both on and off the field. Coach George DeLeone, our offensive coordinator, was the tight ends coach for the Miami Dolphins. He brought a pro style playbook to us. I found out at the Combine that a lot of the terminology was the same as pro teams have. Coach Pasqualoni is great. He knows what it takes to make it in the NFL. He teaches us how to carry ourselves on and off the field. He shows us how we need to train in the weight room, how to take notes in the classroom, and how to translate that to the practice field. You have to play up to your talent level on every single rep. You can't take one off. I learned so much from him.
JB: To what degree do you think having to learn a new playbook for a new coach will help you do the same when you transition to the NFL?
KM: It helps a lot because I had to learn how to pick up a new system quickly, which I am going to have to do again. I actually had to learn three different playbooks at UConn. When I first got there, we had a pro style offense with coach Rob Ambrose. Then we had coach Joe Moorhead from Akron, who runs a spread offense. I was in a spread offense my sophomore and junior years. Then coach DeLeone and Pasqualoni brought us back to a pro style. I think it helped keep me sharp learning and memorizing.
JB: What is the most difficult aspect of playing wide receiver?
KM: You have to be very versatile. You have to run good, crisp routes. You have to be able to make difficult catches. Sometimes you have to improvise and make one-handed catches. You have to get dirty in the blocking game. I like that part. At UConn, we were a run based team and known for hard nosed football. I take pride in blocking for the great running backs we had.
JB: What player do you model your game after?
KM: I wouldn't limit it to one player. I like to watch a lot of the smaller guys because I'm small myself. I like to watch Steve Smith from Carolina. He's been dominating for many years, and his playmaking ability on both short and vertical routes is something I study. I also like watching Wes Welker and how he runs his routes. He is so fast in and out of his breaks. Victor Cruz is another guy I look at.
JB: Give me somebody you either played with or against who is a Draft sleeper.
KM: I'll go with my roommate, Evan Rodriguez, tight end from Temple. He woke a lot of people up with his Combine. He's a versatile Aaron Hernandez type of tight end and h-back. I think with the way Hernandez played this season, a lot of teams will look for a guy with the similar type of versatility Evan has.
JB: If you could go to a Super Bowl contender where you didn't get much playing time or a bad team where you would play a lot, which would you choose?
KM: I would choose the contender. My eyes lit up when you mentioned the Super Bowl. At the next level, that's every team's goal. You want the chance to be a champion. There's only one every year. I wouldn't care if I didn't get much playing time as long as I had some kind of impact on the team. The team is all that matters at the end of the day.
JB: What would you like to do when your football career is over?
KM: I'd like to own my own real estate business.
Many thanks to Kashif for speaking with me and best of luck to him in the Draft. He's a real class act.