You know the drill. A guy goes to another guy's school, he's naturally going to be compared to him. It's even more difficult to avoid comparisons between former Steelers and Ole Miss receiver Mike Wallace and 2014 draft prospect Donte Moncrief when you add in the fact Moncrief is blazing fast.
But Moncrief is bigger, and his versatility may just get him taken higher than the third round pick the Steelers used on Wallace back in 2009.
Moncrief's film is littered with examples of what can happen when you fail to defend his speed with perfect technique and focus. His speed is his highest and best attribute, but he does a good job of creating opportunities for himself in space - something the Steelers rely heavily on within Todd Haley's offense.
This isn't the greatest throw Moncrief has ever seen, but he make sure to secure the ball before getting his eyes and his body moving up field. He plucks the ball out from in front of him, and makes a nice studder-step to lock the safety's legs in the ground. One move freezes two defenders, and with that, he smoothly burns past both of them, and goes untouched for the long touchdown.
It shouldn't go unnoticed too, this is a 3rd and 7 play, and Moncrief sells the long route before breaking it off right at the stick, and gets his head around looking for the ball. It's a little detail, but those are what matter with receivers.
It should be pointed out the defender approaches this play horribly, but it's a good example of what people mean when they say "taking the top off the defense," which is a cliche that deserves its own rule for whatever draft day drinking game fans might implement.
The cornerback is trying to funnel him toward the sideline at the snap, which is what the boundary cornerback (the one covering the narrow side of the field) will do. But he approaches his cover flatly and unbalanced, leading Moncrief to fry him with an inside move.
He adjusts perfectly to the ball, which was a little bit overthrown, but look at how quickly he brings his balance back. That's the sign of a really high-level athlete. He's back to full speed in two steps and he has enough speed to remain in front of the safety for the 80-yard touchdown pass.
Perhaps less-than-inspiring defense here again, but the aggressive posture Moncrief shows on his break, as well as the subtle shift the defensive back makes toward the outside shows he was very set on the idea of Moncrief going to the corner. That's a pre-snap advantage that's gained simply by showing up on the field and being 6-foot-2, 220 pounds. Some of this is also due to Moncrief's willingness and desire to block in the run game. The defensive back is completely prone when Moncrief breaks, and has no chance to get at the ball.
Notice, too, how subtly Moncrief brings his right arm through to the other side of the defender, which essentially sets his angle down the field and walls the defender off so he has no chance to get to the ball unless he goes through him.
Overall, there are examples where Moncrief could have showed he's like his frame suggests - a faster version of Anquan Boldin. The reality is he's not the strongest receiver we'll see in this draft, and he's getting himself open with his athleticism more than his strength. Moncrief is a second or third round prospect because he's still got some work to do on his route-running, but he's a very solid option who could make for an outstanding NFL wide receiver in the near future.