The Curious Case of Kellen Moore | April 22, 2012
A lot of people aren’t buying into Kellen Moore as an NFL quarterback, but I certainly do. He does two things amazingly well; completing passes and winning games.
As the winningest quarterback in college football history with a final record of 50-3, you would think that Moore would be a highly sought after asset by NFL franchises, for some reason it doesn’t look like it. Lets look at why that is…
At 6’0″ and 191 pounds, Moore would be the smallest QB in the pro league. One of the biggest misconceptions in the NFL in my opinion is that quarterbacks must to have good size. Sure, the majority of NFL quarterbacks are taller than Moore is. In fact the average height for current NFL QB is 6’3″. You look at current stars such as Mike Vick and Drew Brees who both stand at 6’0″, and it makes you wonder whether size is all that important, especially considering that Brees, only this year, broke the NFL record for passing yards in a season. Size doesn’t appear to affect him, nor did it Doug Flutie who at 5’10″ became an NFL pro bowler; even John Madden once said, “Inch for inch, Flutie in his prime was the best QB of his generation.”
Size alone is no reason to write off a quarterback, and although it is clearly an advantage as it improves visibility of passing lanes and in being able to take sacks, the above examples show that size isn’t everything and a lack of it can be overcome.
Arm Strength + Mechanics
One NFL draft scout is quoted as saying “Kellen Moore has the worst arm + mechanics I’ve ever scouted. I think a lot of evaluators would agree.”
I have one word to say in response to those criticisms. “Accuracy”. Moore ends his college career with an overall completion percentage of 69.8%. Here’s how some of the other quarterbacks in the 2012 draft class shape up in the same criteria:
Andrew Luck: 67%
Robert Griffin III: 66.9%
Ryan Tannehill: 61.6% (2011 season)
This clearly shows that Moore belongs right up there when it comes to accuracy and has no problem completing passes.
In terms of mechanics, I don’t understand the huge concerns of NFL scouts. If we look at the high-profile case of Tim Tebow, his throwing motion was scrutinised for being way too slow, and whilst Tebow is not a good passer, Moore is. So what if Moore has an unorthodox throwing style? It works! And it’s not as if his release is slow, he has a reasonably fast release which is something you look for in a good quarterback. His mechanical issues are not significant problems. Small issues such as exposing the ball, risking a fumble while under pressure can be coached, but his basic fundamentals are fine.
Arm strength is the main weakness of the Boise State signal caller. Moore often struggles throwing deep to the open side of the field which restricted the Bronco’s potent offense to short slants or screens when attacking the open side. This is a main concern when evaluating Kellen Moore’s chances in the NFL as he may not be able to make all the necessary throws. This could make him predictable and up against such advanced defenses, you can’t give them any kind of advantage. Again this can be worked on, although its difficult to see Moore ever having a strong enough arm to completely erase this weakness from his game.
The other big problem with Moore is his lack of zip or velocity on intermediate or even short throws. This is an area he needs to, and is capable of improving in preparation for stepping up to the next level.
Mobility + Footwork
While Moore doesn’t posses the athletic ability of Cam Newton or RG3, he does have the ability to move the chains with his feet which has become a more prominent aspect of the game in modern times. He has also shown the ability to throw on the run through executing roll-outs and bootlegs within the Boise state offense.
Moore’s footwork is very good in most cases. The one big negative however comes when throwing to the right (opposite of his throwing hand). Scouts have determined that the way Moore tends to lock his front leg when passing to that side reduces his balance and causes some of the weak, inaccurate passes you find when watching Moore throw across his body. This can be worked on but is a fundamental problem which could be hard to reverse.
This is where a lot of the uncertainty surrounding Moore comes from. Does the fact that he was a part of the most talented team in a very weak conference make his achievements irrelevant? Probably not.
It was disappointing not to see Boise St face a better opponent in their bowl game this past post-season. They ended up facing the 6-6 Arizona State who they destroyed 56-24. Boise actually went 12-1 this season with their only loss coming to rivals TCU by one point on a missed field goal as time expired.
Basically, Boise St dominate their conference as their 50-3 record from 2008 to 2011 shows. It would have been interesting to see Moore and the Broncos up against a team like Stanford or Oklahoma State who would have provided a big test to Kellen Moore’s pro credentials. If that had happened then this wouldn’t be a factor, Instead the Broncos came up against a rather lackluster Arizona State who Boise overcame quite easily. The Broncos are set to join the big east in the near future which is a great move for the program, unfortunately in has come too late for their Moore.
Overall, Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore has all the intangibles and mental attributes an NFL franchise could want from a draft prospect, along with an outstanding knowledge of the game. Although his few mechanical issues mean that his college success may not translate into the pro game, his weakness have been exaggerated.
Moore is 100% worth a draft pick, but which round? I would say he was worth a mid-round pick due to the limitations he does have which may see him slide even further.
It is difficult to predict where he will land, and has only visited one team, the New Orleans Saints. Ironically, Drew Brees is probably the closest to Moore in terms of size in the whole league and himself overcame the same kind of scrutiny that Moore is under today.
All of this shows that it is not a stretch to say Kellen Moore will be referred to as the steal of the 2012 NFL Draft 10 years from now. Although he isn’t universally praised and adored, there’s one thing we can all agree on; he wins games.