Rams eyeball T.J. Moe during draft visit
By Jim Thomas
Luckily for T.J. Moe, he’s not the nervous type. Because if he were, well, his stomach would’ve been churning during his “local” pre-draft visit Thursday to Rams Park
During the NFL’s so-called “top 30” visits, draft prospects aren’t allowed to work out for teams. But workouts are allowed at a local visit, which is for players who attended high school in the metropolitan area of that particular NFL team.
Moe, the wide receiver from the University of Missouri, attended high school at Fort Zumwalt West in O’Fallon, Mo., maybe 15-20 minutes west of the Rams Park facility in Earth City.
According to Moe, he attracted quite a crowd Thursday catching passes from Rams backup quarterback Austin Davis.
“You’re going through the workout and you have 50 sets of eyes on you,” Moe said. “We went through, they call it their slot receiver workout. Basically I ran their slot routes and a couple of their outside receiver routes.”
Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer put Moe through the private workout. Wide receivers coach Ray Sherman was there, as were coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead, and several scouts.
“But I don’t really get too nervous about stuff like that,” Moe said. “I caught every ball they threw at me today. Every route.”
During another drill, Moe said Davis walked in a circle around him throwing passes.
“And I had to stand with my feet planted, facing one direction, and he went all 360 degrees around throwing just to see kinda what my catch radius was _ if I could catch from different angles, that kind of thing,” Moe said.
Moe said he did some classroom work with some of the coaches. One unidentified coach spent about a half hour teaching him a few things about the Rams’ offense. Then, Moe went to another room where Schottenheimer and Sherman quizzed him on the same subject matter to see what he retained.
“Bottom line is, they wanted to see if I’m smart enough to play,” Moe said. “If I could pick up the playbook and if I knew what I’m doing. It’s a whole new offense they throw at you, so you’re not going to get everything.”
Moe also met with special teams coordinator John Fassel and Rams director of player programs La’Roi Glover.
Moe said Fassel is “a guy that I’ve kinda created a neat relationship with since the Combine.”
Fassel was the only special teams coach Moe met at the NFL Scouting Combine in February among his various team interviews.
“I sat down with Coach Sherman the first night (at the Combine), and then the second night I sat down with Coach Fassel,” Moe said. “We talked back and forth for a while, and I was kinda intrigued and interested by just his philosophies and his mind.
“So the third day (of the Combine) I went and sat down with (Fassel) again. He wasn’t talking to anybody so I pulled up a chair and we watched film for about a half-hour on the Cowboys. So that was neat.”
After Thursday’s visit, Moe made a pit stop in O’Fallon for dinner with this family, and then drove back to Columbia, Mo. He’s not sure what he’s going to do on draft weekend.
If he gets drafted, he knows it will be on Day 3, when Rounds 4-7 take place, on Saturday April 27. But he doesn’t necessarily want a huge crowd around at home in case he doesn’t get drafted.
“I don’t know what I’m gonna do yet,” Moe said. “We were just talking about that today. We might even make it a no-girls-allowed rule. Mom and sisters maybe can’t be around.”
“The thing is, if I knew I was gonna get drafted in the fourth, fifth round, it’s OK to have a lot of people there,” Moe said. “Say I slip and don’t get drafted at all, and then three or four people that everybody thinks for whatever reason I’m better than (get drafted). Everybody gets talking and that’s when you don’t want a lot of people around. And girls are the worst at that.”
Moe has made no other visits, but he’s starting to hear from other teams on the phone.
“I got a call today from a scout from the *****, and I hadn’t spoken to the ***** one time,” Moe said. “This guy said, ‘Hey, I’ve been watching you for a while. I just wanted to get in touch after you had a great pro day. I wanted to make sure you got my number.’
“So who knows? Different teams call to make sure they’ve got your stuff. That probably just means you’re either on their board somewhere, or you are one of their priority free agents.”
Also paying a local visit Thursday to Rams Park was Arkansas running back Ronnie Wingo Jr., who played his high school football at St. Louis University High. He had 1,699 yards rushing-receiving and scored 15 touchdowns over his Razorbacks career. Wingo is 6-1, 231, and was timed in 4.47 seconds in the 40 last month at Arkansas’ pro day. Like Moe, he played in the Texas vs. the Nation all-star game this offseason.