NASHVILLE — Former Appalachian State running back Jalin Moore has shown patience when it comes to his football past.
That patience paid off April 27 when he agreed to an undrafted free agent deal with the New York Jets. Moore went undrafted in the 2019 NFL Draft, but don’t feel sorry for him, because he doesn’t feel sorry for himself.
Instead, he said he feels blessed for the chance to play in the NFL, and a chance to play on the same team with Pro Bowl running back Le’Veon Bell and former Appalachian State safety Doug Middleton.
“I’m right where I need to be,” Moore said. “I don’t care about the selection and all that. That’s just a thing and I’m not in it for a thing.”
Patience proved to be more than just a virtue for Moore. It’s turned into a possible career in the NFL. Being drafted was in his overall plan, but he said that he is used to plans changing.
When he was recruited out of Crest High School in Shelby to Appalachian State, he came in as an unheralded freshman. He filled in for the injured Marcus Cox for his first two seasons with the Mountaineers, but made his mark by being named the Sun Belt Conference’s Most Valuable Player on offense in 2016 while subbing for Cox.
Despite that, Moore remained Cox’s backup in 2017. Moore stepped into the spotlight as the Mountaineers’ starting running back in 2018, but he had to sit on the sidelines during his senior season after dislocating his ankle in the fifth game of the season at Arkansas State.
Moore said he’s been the underdog before when it came to getting on the field with the Mountaineers, and once again he feels he’ll have to work to make the Jets’ roster.
“Right out of high school, I was never the starter out of the gate,” Moore said. “I had to always work for it. This is the same thing. I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t have to work for it. I want to approach it the same way — that I need to work for it.”
While rehabilitating his injury he was invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, but could not participate in any drills except the bench press, which he pressed 225 pounds 27 times.
Moore did not run the 40-yard dash at the Appalachian State Pro Day, but he showed a vertical leap of 33 inches and ran several pass-catching drills. After the drills, Moore met with several scouts for nearly two hours.
Moore worked out for several teams, including the Carolina Panthers. New Orleans, Kansas City, Chicago, Houston, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Detroit before the draft.
Moore said Middleton was one of the first players to call and welcome him to the Jets.
“He’s been like a big brother from the beginning,” Moore said. “I’m definitely excited to get up there and work with him. He’s a hard worker and he’s one of the guys I look up to.”
Moore also feels blessed to be on the same team with Bell, who signed a $52.5 million free-agent deal with the Jets in March after leaving the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“I feel like this is where I need to be,” Moore said. “Le’Veon Bell — he’s one of the greats and one of the most productive backs in this era. I have somebody to look up to and to guide me and show me the dos and don’ts on the field and off the field. I want to be great and he’s been great in the league, so I feel blessed to be a part of this organization and to be behind such a great player.”