Four Purdue football players found new homes in the 2021 NFL Draft this weekend: wide receiver Rondale Moore, hybrid linebacker Derrick Barnes, left tackle Grant Hermanns and safety Tyler Coyle.
Moore was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the second round with the 49th overall pick.
He had flashed NFL potential since his first college game in 2018, where he recorded 109 receiving yards on 11 catches and ran for 79 in only two rushing attempts.
Later that year, Moore’s production in a shocking 49-20 upset against the then-No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes put him on the national stage.
Out of his 12 catches for 170 yards and two touchdowns, his iconic final catch lingers in the minds of the 60,716 fans who were in attendance at Ross-Ade Stadium. After catching a screen pass, Moore ran down the sideline and trucked through multiple tackles en route to his final touchdown of the evening.
After his freshman year, Moore’s career was hampered by injuries after he and then-senior quarterback Elijah Sindelar had their seasons prematurely ended on the same play in a game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
In his sophomore and junior seasons, Moore played a combined seven games.
Moore fought his way back into the starting lineup this season and solidified his status as one of the most memorable receivers in Purdue’s history. He secured his status as an NFL talent at Purdue’s Pro Day by logging a 4.29 40-yard dash and a 42-inch vertical.
Moore joins a receiving core on the Cardinals led by five-time NFL Pro Bowler DeAndre Hopkins. He’ll have the chance to receive passes from dynamic third-year quarterback Kyler Murray in head coach Kliff Kingsburry’s air-raid scheme.
Along with being a deep-threat option, Moore will likely thrive in the quick-screen game, where he’ll receive the ball with space to run for yards after catches.
Barnes was selected by the Detroit Lions with the 113th pick.
He entered the draft as an inside linebacker. In four years with the Boilers, he garnered 226 solo tackles along with 10.5 sacks. Against Indiana in 2019, he totaled 10 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.
Barnes lined up as an inside linebacker and defensive end for Purdue. He used his long arms and “heavy” hands to gain leverage against opposing players in the pass rush, according to NFL analyst Lance Zierlein.
Barnes will have the chance to learn under Lions linebacker Jamie Collins and new head coach Dan Campbell. Campbell is tasked with rebuilding a defense that ranked 32nd in the NFL in yards allowed (6,716), 32nd in yards per play (6.3) and 31st in total turnovers, according to Pro Football Reference.
Hermanns signed with the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent Saturday night.
A four-year starter for the Boilermakers, the 3-time Academic All-Big Ten selectee blocked for offenses that did not dip below 390.5 yards per game during his career.
Hermanns remained one of the more consistent options for Purdue, even while his career was interrupted by injuries. He had 32 starts in four seasons, including all 12 games in the 2019-20 season.
The Jets have been rebuilding their franchise since the start of the Todd Bowles era in 2015. After a 2-14 2020 season, they hired head coach Robert Saleh, traded away their young quarterback Sam Darnold and drafted BYU star Zach Wilson second overall.
One of the Jets’ biggest weaknesses in the past has been their offensive line. The line ranked 29th in the NFL in pass-block win rate and 30th in run-block win rate, according to ESPN.
The Jets also snagged University of Southern California guard Alijah Vera-Tucker to play alongside left tackle Mehki Becton. Hermanns will likely learn under them as he starts off his NFL career as a practice-squad-level player.
Coyle signed with the Dallas Cowboys as another undrafted free agent.
Coyle spent four seasons at the University of Connecticut before transferring to Purdue. With the Huskies, he totaled 261 tackles, three interceptions and 15 passes deflected.
Purdue offered him a spot on the team after Bob Diaco, who had been the head coach of the Huskies when Coyle was a freshman, was hired to be the Boilermakers’ defensive coordinator for the 2020-21 season. In three games with the Boilermakers, Coyle tallied 13 tackles and deflected one pass.
The Cowboys are in need of more talent in their secondary, but Coyle will have to work his way up in order to get a shot on the field.