Panthers' D.J. Moore looking to make 'jump' in Year 2

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Carolina Panthers receiver D.J. Moore got off to a slow start during his rookie season, catching just two passes through his first three games. The 2018 first-round pick, however, came on strong down the stretch, hinting more could be in store in 2019.

The receiver cited Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey's big Year 2 leap as a reason for optimism.

"We saw the jump that Christian had from Year 1 to Year 2. I'm looking to take the same jump," Moore said this week, via the team's official website. "I know Curtis (Samuel) is looking to take the same jump from Year 2 to Year 3. Everybody is just trying to get better."

Much like McCaffrey benefited from the Panthers letting veteran running back Jonathan Stewart walk in free agency last year, Moore should be the beneficiary of Carolina allowing Devin Funchess to leave.

After an anemic start to his rookie campaign, Moore got more comfortable in Norv Turner's offense, and the Panthers figured out how to use the wideout better. The tackle-breaking maven busted out several big games, even as Carolina's offense went in the tank thanks to Cam Newton's shoulder issue. Moore boasted three games over the 90-yard mark, including a 157-yard Week 11 performance. He finished with 788 yards on 55 receptions and two touchdowns.

The Panthers utilized Moore as a quick-strike option as a rookie, with the majority of his targets coming within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, finishing with 8.1 air yards per target, per Next Gen Stats. The quick-screen game plays well to Moore's run-after-catch ability, but it also was a product of a constrained offense with Newton unable to throw down the field. The hope is that a healthy QB will allow Moore to be a full-field playmaker moving forward.

Moore projects to lead a Panthers receiving corps in his second season. Curtis Samuel could challenge for that role if he can finally remain healthy. Torrey Smith is the field-stretching element. Chris Hogan was brought in as a veteran complement. And Jarius Wright provides another veteran presence. The success of the receiver corps, however, sits with Moore making that Year 2 leap.

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