Ten short months ago, one of Idaho’s top journalists almost swallowed his pizza, spilled his adult beverage and nearly fell out of his chair when I answered “yes” to this question:

“Do you think Kellen Moore will be drafted?”

The guy was adamant Moore had no chance but understood that I had been around dozens of NFL and college quarterbacks on a daily basis.

So he leaned in and listened intently – remaining bewildered at my answer – as I explained that I had identified a team that I thought would be interested in selecting the Boise State star quarterback in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Now that the draft is here, that team I saw drafting Moore is no longer a possibility. The Indianapolis Colts parted ways with Peyton Manning and are rightfully selecting Andrew Luck of Stanford when the draft begins on Thursday night.

Moore won’t be picked until Saturday’s third and final day of the draft and I have good news for him.

I now see five possible suitors, which is four to five more than many NFL draft experts were forecasting a few months ago.

Yes, I said five – even though Moore still barely reaches six feet and there is plenty of doubt about his arm strength in terms of making the throws required at the NFL level.

This development on my end could even make Moore a sixth-round pick if the following teams share my prognosis.

New Orleans Saints … Seattle Seahawks … Denver Broncos … San Diego Chargers … New England Patriots.

The Saints under now suspended coach Sean Payton have been more about how you play than how tall you are and already have smallish quarterbacks in Drew Brees and Chase Daniel. Brees would welcome him with open arms and push him at levels he’s never thought about.

The Seahawks quarterback situation is a mess and drafting a well-known guy from a small city in the state of Washington is known as an exemplary public relations move. And if Moore develops and someday plays in a game, even better. There is opportunity for a third-stringer to move up in Seattle.

I found Moore to be a good fit for the Colts last summer due to the way the franchise circulated through second and third quarterbacks with Manning entrenched. Now that Manning is in Denver, that theory could be in play if you forecast the Broncos will be waiting two to three years to draft their quarterback of the future. Of course, selling John Elway on Moore – Elway wanted no part of flawed-but-winning Tim Tebow – might be tough since Elway seemingly is only impressed by signal callers born with the same cannon arm he was blessed with.

The Chargers need a third-string quarterback and are expected to take one in the later rounds of the draft. The downside is that Moore doesn’t fit the mold of what coach Norv Turner looks for in a quarterback. On the other hand, Turner is a goner if the Chargers don’t make the playoffs this year and starter Philip Rivers has been pretty sturdy. Taking a flier on Moore certainly rates better than general manager A.J. Smith’s selection of Tennessee’s Jonathan Crompton in the fifth round of the 2010 draft. Crompton was so lost he didn’t even make the team, which is really hard to do in the current NFL landscape.

The Patriots don’t get caught up in measurables – I’ve stood next to Wes Welker and there are ninth graders who are more physically imposing – and they have a secure quarterback in Tom Brady who Moore can learn from. All New England cares about is whether or not a player can contribute.

One thing not discussed often among the draft experts when it comes to Moore is this: One of the biggest in-season chores for a third-string NFL quarterback is to learn the offense of the upcoming opponent each week as fast as possible and to run it proficiently in practice to give your defense the best preparation.

Moore is the son of a coach and a future college offensive coordinator. He’ll handle that job in a top-flight manner and then you make the proper assessment of how he is developing and perhaps he eventually becomes the backup.

Besides, I’m sure he could have described “Spider 2 Y Banana” to Jon Gruden just as well as Luck did.

The way I see it – drafting Kellen Moore late in the draft is a no-lose proposition. The majority of NFL talent evaluators don’t think he can play so you haven’t lost anything if that’s proven right.

But if he someday develops and even becomes a starting quarterback, you just hit the late-round jackpot.

Moore is worth a late-round pick. I said it 10 months ago and I say it again on the eve of the draft.

 

SOME OTHER THOUGHTS ON QUARTERBACKS

Luck and Baylor’s Robert Griffin III (to the Redskins) are no-brainers at the top of the draft but a lot of experts are forecasting Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill possibly going in the Top 10. I see that as a mistake.

I see Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden as the third-best quarterback available. I also would prefer taking Arizona’s Nick Foles in the second or third round before I’d go with Tannehill.

Arizona State’s Brock Osweiler will certainly be drafted before the third round is over but he would have been much better off returning for another season of college experience.

It appears San Diego State’s Ryan Lindley will go in either the fourth or fifth round.

One other thing – why the heck is Oregon’s Darron Thomas in this draft? Major mistake for him to leave college early.

SECOND-BEST BACK

Alabama’s Trent Richardson is the undisputed top running back in the draft but I like Boise State’s Doug Martin as the second-best back ahead of Virginia Tech’s David Wilson. Martin is a better blocker, takes care of the ball better and then there was something I discovered while standing next to him last September.

His build was pretty similar to former San Diego star LaDainian Tomlinson, a guy I covered for two years. I had a feeling Martin’s stock would rise once NFL talent evaluators saw him at the NFL combine and it has – to the point that some folks believe he might be selected in the first round.

ET CETERA

Boise State could have a school-record seven players tabbed. Linebacker Shea McClellin is a certain first-round pick … San Diego State running back Ronnie Hillman made a huge mistake in leaving after two seasons. Instead of breaking Marshall Faulk’s career-rushing record, he’s pegged as an NFL reserve that will be picked in the middle rounds … Don’t be surprised if the Chargers select an offensive lineman in the first round after the retirement of star guard Kris Dielman and the parting of the ways with tackle Marcus McNeill … A good sleeper pick is tight end Ladarius Green of Louisiana-Lafayette – he has some similarities to Chargers Pro Bowler Antonio Gates.

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