Even if Detroit Lions quarterback Kellen Moore doesn't make his current team's final 53-man roster, his stellar preseason performance against the New England Patriots should land him a job at some other NFL destination in 2013.
Playing against a mixture of Patriots backups, he completed nine of his 12 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns in Detroit's 40-9 home victory on Thursday evening.
Unfortunately for Moore, the former Boise State superstar who is the winningest quarterback in NCAA history, the Lions are fairly stacked at quarterback. Even that virtuosic display may not be enough to stick to third on the depth chart.
Former No. 1 overall pick Matthew Stafford has some of the best natural arm talent in the game. Meanwhile, backup Shaun Hill is a veteran who has 26 career starts under his belt, boasting a career passer rating of 85.9.
Fox Sports Ohio's Zac Jackson remarked on the diminutive stature Moore has and how he likely won't be able to overcome it to succeed in the pros:
Kellen Moore will be a college head coach in 10 yrs, if he so chooses. This NFL stuff is just for someone else, that's all <see Dorsey, Ken>— Zac Jackson (@FSOhioZJackson) August 16, 2013
Where will Kellen Moore play in 2013?
That is a big reason why Moore, who was more statistically prolific than many of his 2012 draft classmates, hasn't gotten nearly the opportunities that some of his breakout star peers have.
Even the man competing with Moore for the Lions' third quarterback spot, Thaddeus Lewis, got to start for the Cleveland Browns in last year's regular-season finale. Lewis fared relatively well too, throwing for 204 yards, one touchdown and an interception in a 24-10 road loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But credit Moore for continuing to battle, even though he's yet to throw an NFL pass in the regular season.
It's still only his second year in the league, and while he doesn't have ideal height (6'0"), a cannon for a left throwing arm or dynamic athleticism, he is a proven winner and is an extremely accurate passer.
The question continues to be whether Moore will ever truly get an opportunity to success as an NFL quarterback.
Since Hill was held out by Lions head coach Jim Schwartz in an effort to rest him up and nurse some minor injuries ahead of the regular season, Moore got a golden chance to prove himself against one of the best organizations in sports. As those who prepare well so often do, the 24-year-old signal-caller took full advantage.
Justin Rogers of MLive.com was impressed and almost at a loss for words to describe what had happened:
Kellen Moore has been outstanding. No other way to put it.— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) August 23, 2013
Schwartz noted afterward that Moore had been throwing the ball well throughout training camp and that it revealed itself in the game situation, per KTVB.com's Jay Trust:
I think Kellen has been very good in camp. He’s moved the offense, he’s made good decisions and he’s thrown the ball very well. I think you’re just seeing an extension of that. Probably his most extensive playtime and he did a good job of leading us and getting some passes in there. We have been seeing that from him all training camp.
The third preseason game is usually all about the starters, and the Patriots' explosive first offensive unit turned it over four times. That was a rather large source of buzz, as was the fact that Tim Tebow didn't play a single snap.
However, another big point of discussion was Moore—and rightfully so. This was his only real shot at proving himself in extended action, and he performed just about as well as he could have.
On teams with a more dire quarterback situation than that of the Lions, Moore should at least get a look as a No. 3 option and make one of the 32 NFL rosters this season.