Why Kellen Moore Will Make the Detroit Lions Roster

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystMay 10, 2012

BOISE, ID - NOVEMBER 26: Kellen Moore #11 of the Boise State Broncos applauds a touchdown against the Wyoming Cowboys at Bronco Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Boise, Idaho.  (Photo by Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images)
Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images

One of the shrewder pickups among the undrafted free agents signed following April's NFL draft was the Detroit Lions' acquisition of former Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore.

There's an excellent chance that when all is said and done Moore will find himself a member of the 53-man roster in Motown.

Moore was a wildly productive quarterback in college, throwing for over 14,000 yards and 142 touchdowns while helping to lead the Broncos from obscurity to national prominence.

However, Moore's realtively diminutive size (6'0") and questions about his arm strength after so-so workouts damaged his draft stock, leading to Moore going undrafted before catching on with the Lions.

Not being drafted was undoubtedly a disappointment for Moore, but—as far professional opportunities go—landing in Detroit may actually turn out to be something of a blessing in disguise.

Granted, Moore isn't about to start a game for the Lions anytime soon (barring an absolute catastrophe), as starter Matthew Stafford is one of the top young signal-callers in the NFL.

Stafford also has a fairly extensive injury history. If he were he to go down, he would be replaced by veteran Shaun Hill, who is one of the NFL's better backup quarterbacks and who possesses extensive experience in Detroit's offense.

That leaves Moore battling for the third quarterback job in the Motor City. That may not make for much playing time, but it would give Moore ample time to develop and acclimate to the professional game.

Also, given that the so-called "emergency" quarterback doesn't count against the 53-man active roster, Moore not only has an excellent shot at making the team, but he could easily find himself active on most Sundays—even if it's just as a clipboard holder and observer.

For their part, the Lions front office certainly appears to think that Moore has an excellent shot at sticking. General manager Martin Mayhew recently told WJR-AM radio that the team was very excited to grab Moore, according to the Detroit Free Press:

"This guy's a very, very talented, very cerebral quarterback," Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said last week on WJR-AM (760). "(He) anticipates things really well. That's the one thing our scouts and coaches really talked about. He really knows where to go with the ball, and he gets the ball there before the receiver comes out of his break. The guy is just very talented, and we were fortunate to be able to get him."

Moore doesn't have the prototypical size that NFL teams covet, and no one is going to confuse his arm strength with John Elway's any time soon.

However, game tape and track records don't lie.

Moore is a smart player who has shown tremendous poise in the pocket. He completed nearly 70 percent of his passes in college and, as recently as last season, dismembered a top-10 college defense when the Broncos defeated Georgia in Atlanta.

At worst the Lions have made a minimal investment in a player who will kick around the practice squad, and the team can easily sever ties with Moore if he fails to make the transition from college to the pros.

It's far more likely, however, that in Moore the Detroit Lions got a gem of a quarterback on the cheap.

Given a year or two of seasoning, Moore has all the tools to at least become a top-flight backup quarterback, and it's also very possible that he could become very valuable trade bait for the Lions down the road.

In any event I'll be more than a little surprised if Moore isn't still around when the Lions make their final roster cuts this fall.

In fact, he might as well start checking out real estate ads because I expect he's going to be in Michigan for a while.

Odds of Kellen Moore Making the 53-Man Roster: 90 percent