Arrival of NFL combine means it’s almost time to find a roster spot for Kellen Moore

Posted: 02/22/2012 in college football, football
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The NFL combine begins Thursday and it reminds me that I need to investigate a new NFL roster plan for Kellen Moore.

Yeah, I had actually figured out a way for the Boise State star to make an NFL roster in the spring of 2011 but then Peyton Manning developed a pain in the neck in the summer.

Now all bets are off as the Indianapolis method of circulating through second-and third-string quarterbacks to play caddy to Manning will be ending.

I do recall the surprised look on the face of one of the top journalists in the state of Idaho last summer when I answered “yes” to Moore being drafted.

We were eating pizza in downtown Boise and I thought the poor guy was about to choke on the mozzarella in mid-bite.

He has seen Moore up close in action on the field over Moore’s entire career at Boise State and is adamant there is no chance Moore can play in the NFL. He was interested in my opinion since I’ve been around dozens of NFL quarterbacks on a daily basis during my journalism career.

And my opinion at that time was that there was a team that might draft Moore in April of 2012. I had forecasted the possibility that Moore could be a late-round pick by the Colts.

All Indianapolis would need is for its third-string quarterback to be intelligent and able to proficiently run the opposing squad’s offense in practices. No issues there – Moore is a student of the game and a future coach and I think he’ll quickly rise to the offensive coordinator level once he gets into college coaching.

That situation would have also allowed Moore to learn under Manning and if he developed into a second-stringer, then fine. If not, no problem. The Colts would let him loose two or three years later and keep their revolving quarterback door moving.

But now Indianapolis has the No. 1 overall pick in a year when there’s a standout collegian available in Stanford’s Andrew Luck. The Colts are about to invest in the future and rightfully so.

So now it’s back to the drawing board to find Moore a roster spot and I’m not sure I can. I will release a more detailed analysis of the 2012 quarterback draft possibilities when the April draft arrives.

The combine – the quarterbacks perform Sunday – is important for Moore because he got decidedly mixed reviews during Senior Bowl workouts from NFL talent evaluators and his combine performance and upcoming individual workouts for teams will carry way more weight than all that college production.

NFL talent evaluators don’t care where a player went to school. All they care about is whether the player can play in the NFL.

I remember people in San Diego unable to comprehend that San Diego State quarterback Todd Santos – the all-time leader in college passing yards when his college career ended – lasted until the 10th round of the 1987 draft.

Santos was highly productive in college but didn’t have an NFL arm. Plain and simple.

He was cut by the New Orleans Saints in training camp and he spent a couple weeks on the roster of the San Francisco 49ers during the 1988 season before fading into oblivion.

I don’t know whether a team will take a flyer on Moore or not but I do know these things from all my years watching NFL and college quarterbacks practice.

—-There is a major difference between those floating down-in-outs thrown by guys like Moore and those 40-yard rockets on a dime that Philip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers repeatedly throws. I was stunned the New England Patriots picked Kevin O’Connell in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft due to what I witnessed on the San Diego State practice field. Let’s just say I never once said to myself “NFL quarterback” while covering O’Connell. Shortly before the 2009 season started, the Patriots waived him.

—-There is a huge difference in the speed and anticipation skills of NFL defensive backs and guys playing in the secondary at New Mexico and Colorado State. It is impossible to explain just how fast NFL skill position players are to people who solely watch football from the couch in their living rooms and haven’t watched NFL players from the sidelines. Rookie quarterbacks repeatedly gush about that speed of the game adjustment in their initial NFL training camps.

—-It is not an easy thing for a smaller-sized quarterback – Moore is a shade under 6 foot on his tallest day – to throw the football over behemoth NFL defensive linemen. The size and athleticism of these guys is why NFL talent evaluators prefer their quarterbacks to be in the 6-foot-3 to 6-foot-5 range. For every Drew Brees who is able to make it in the NFL, there are dozens and dozens of other smallish quarterbacks who have no chance to make the jump.

Without question, the most entertaining part of Moore’s fight to make an NFL roster will be keeping an eye out for comments from some of the Boise-area media. There’s a little bit too much blue-and-orange kool-aid drinking done by these folks.

These “reporters” take it personally when anyone offers an objective analysis of Moore’s skills and shortcomings. I realize these folks don’t have experience covering NFL teams, but throwing all objectivity out the window and making it a personal agenda is just silly.

During the Senior Bowl workout week, one of the television guys made a derisive comment about all the “naysayers” in Mobile, Alabama.

Um yeah, those naysayers judge football players for a living. Every NFL scout sees several thousand college players in person each season and watches miles and miles of film. They talk to coaches – including opposing coaches who schemed against the player – and do more homework than an Ivy League double-major student.

Not a single one of them arbitrarily decides a guy can’t play. The player’s skills decide it for them.

If Kellen Moore proves he’s worthy of a shot at the NFL, he’ll get one.

That’s the simple part of the equation.

The hard part is still to come – that’s trying to pinpoint another roster spot for Moore.

I have a lot of work to do between now and April’s draft.

  1. Arley says:

    Wow I bet your the same type of person who thought Sanchez or Russel or all the other first round flops were just fantastic. You can write all the bull that you want. The truth is in the tape not in the measureables. You dont rewrite the record books without having great skill and if he wasnt pulled out of the game in the third quarter in three fourths of the games he would have all the records. So if an NFL team wants to win they will draft Kellen Moore.

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