Panthers get D.J. Moore; Steve Smith gushes over pick

Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney once drafted Steve Smith. This year he selected the player Steve Smith called his "spirit animal": receiver D.J. Moore.

The Panthers grabbed the Maryland product with the No. 24 pick, making him the first receiver off the board.

The 6-foot wideout owns an enticing combination of size, speed, and good run-after-the-catch ability.

Moore's ability with the ball in his hands caused many scouts to compare him positively to Steve Smith.

"He's a playmaker," Smith said of Moore on NFL Network. "...I think he can run every route on the route tree. A Ph.D. in route running. He can line up in the slot. He can line up outside. He's elusive. He'll run through you, he'll run around you and he'll run away from you."

Smith was effusive with praise of Moore and loves the fit with his former Panthers squad.

"You want to know the truth of how I feel?" Smith said. "They have never been able to replace me. Until today."

Adding Moore gives Cam Newton a potential go-to target alongside Devin Funchess and deep-threat Torrey Smith. With questions about the recovery of last year's second-round pick, Curtis Samuel, giving Newton another target was a priority entering the draft.

The Panthers once cut Steve Smith to hand the team over to Newton. Now they are handing Newton a player who emulates Steve Smith. Life is circular.