Having looked at each of the Jets’ draft picks in detail, we’ve now moved on to discuss each of their undrafted free agent signings. We continue today with a breakdown of Appalachian State running back Jalin Moore.
The 23-year old is listed at 5’10” and 211 pounds and was an all-Sun Belt Conference first teamer in 2017 and 2016, having led the conference in rushing. His senior year was cut short due to a serious ankle injury, but he still ended his college career with over 3,500 rushing yards at over six per carry.
Moore was only a one-star recruit out of high school, but - having redshirted his first year - he made a big impact down the stretch as a redshirt freshman and ended up making the all-Sun Belt freshman team.
Entering the eighth game of his redshirt freshman year, Moore had just 203 rushing yards, mostly in garbage time, but then broke out with a 244-yard game off the bench against Idaho. This earned him more playing time down the stretch and he averaged 95 rushing yards per game over the last three weeks.
As a sophomore, Moore rushed for a career-high 1,402 yards to lead the conference and was named to the all-Sun Belt conference first team. He led the conference again in his junior year, rushing for 1,037 yards despite missing time through injuries. He earned first team honors again as he posted career bests for touchdowns (13), pass receptions (12) and receiving yards (163).
In his senior year, Moore was on course for another big season. He opened the year with an impressive performance against Penn State with 124 yards from scrimmage and a career high five catches. Overall, he averaged 92 rushing yards over the first four weeks. Unfortunately, he suffered a gruesome leg injury in the fifth game of the year, ending his season.
Moore was invited to the scouting combine but was still rehabbing his ankle so was unable to do a full workout. After he went unselected in the draft, the Jets signed him as an undrafted free agent, although they have already placed him on the non-football injury list.
Now let’s take a look at what Moore brings to the table, divided into categories.
Moore has average size but is strong, having posted the second best bench press mark for running backs at the combine with 27 reps. He can apparently squat 650 pounds.
While he couldn’t do a full workout at the combine or his pro day, Moore shows good burst and acceleration on film and would probably have posted good speed and explosiveness numbers, albeit perhaps not agility numbers.
Moore has been used primarily as a conventional back, as it was rare for him to ever line up out wide or in the slot. The Mountaineers run a variety of different two and three-back packages with Moore occasionally in a fullback role.
Moore is a well-balanced runner, who usually runs north-south with a direct style. He shows an ability to make quick cuts and run through arm tackles.
The book on Moore is that he’s more of a power back than an elusive runner, but he does have some ability to spin out of a tackle and break free for a big gain.
Once he breaks into the open field, he has the ability to make a guy miss at the second level and showcases breakaway speed.
Ball security has generally been good as he didn’t fumble in 2017 or 2018. Of his two fumbles prior to that, this one was on the hand-off exchange.
Moore doesn’t have much experience as a pass catcher, generating virtually all of his production on simple dump-offs and not getting much of a chance to display any route running capabilities.
He never caught any downfield passes in college, although he did have a few big gains on passes out to the flat, including a 75-yard touchdown in 2017 and this 23-yard gain against Georgia.
Despite only being targeted on short passes, Moore has an unimpressive catch rate of 59 percent. He only had a few drops though.
Moore has good power and has generated plenty of his 33 rushing touchdowns from close to the goal line, although he does have a penchant for breakaway runs. He has a good nose for the end zone, as he shows here.
Impressively, Moore stayed in to pass protect over 230 times in his college career but never gave up a pressure. However, scouting reports indicate that he can, at times, be late to react in blocking situations. Here’s an example of that.
While Moore runs with power and can finish strongly, he doesn’t always do that with consistency and can be brought down in the open field.
One thing he does do is try to stay inbounds and fight for extra yardage when near the sideline, often seeking out contact. He will also stay on his feet at the end of runs, often enabling his teammates to drive him for extra yardage.
His physicality in pass protection has also been praised in scouting reports.
Moore didn’t play special teams in college at all, but would be expected to at the NFL level. He did have some good numbers as a kickoff returner in high school.
Moore’s vision was described as “very poor” in a scouting report by Joe Marino of Draft Network, who was critical of Moore for running into tacklers or leveraged defenders in the hole because he’s too preoccupied with what’s going on at the second level. There is evidence of this on film as he’ll often run right into a tackler, especially in short yardage situations where he looked like he could’ve had the first down if he took what the defense gave him.
Nevertheless, there are examples on film of him hitting a running lane well, especially on outside zone runs. He also has the ability to bounce outside or even reverse his field to turn nothing into something.
Once he gets into the open field, Moore’s running instincts are very good and he broke a lot of long touchdown runs.
As a blocker, he can be slow to recognize the blitz and has to react quickly to pick it up rather than anticipating it. Also, his lack of experience as a receiver was exposed on a rare play where he lined up out wide and broke back to the ball too late, allowing the cornerback to step in front for an easy interception.
Moore developed into a leader during his career at Appalachian State and has been praised for his toughness and work ethic. He has had no off-field issues apart from when he dropped an f-bomb during a live TV interview because his quarterback threw an interception.
He had good discipline on the field, with just one penalty - a false start - in his four-year career.
Moore would definitely have been a draftable prospect if not for his ankle injury last season, from which he is still rehabbing. On the play, Moore broke into the clear and dragged a defensive back for the final 10 yards into the end zone, but then got his ankle caught up under him as he went into the end zone. He suffered a fracture and a dislocation on the play.
Moore had also missed time in the 2017 season, during which time he was dealing with a sprained foot, a back injury and a bout of the flu.
As noted, Moore seems most effective on zone runs, which should make him a good fit for Frank Pollack’s zone-heavy blocking schemes.
He doesn’t bring much as a pass catcher yet, though, which puts him at a disadvantage in comparison with every other running back on the roster.
While it’s uncertain as to how soon he can be back to 100 percent following last year’s injury - if ever - Moore has a lot of a talent and the ability to make it onto an NFL roster if healthy.
There’s a lot of competition for spots at the running back position with Le’Veon Bell and Ty Montgomery added in free agency and Elijah McGuire and Trenton Cannon back after showing flashes of potential last year. Moore doesn’t have those pass catching skills that Adam Gase will no doubt covet, but could perhaps find another role for himself as a short yardage back or something.
Moore’s injury was so bad it’s feasible he might not even be ready for camp which could afford the Jets the luxury of leaving him on the NFI list and bringing him along slowly with a view towards him competing for a role in 2020.