Tale of the Tape: Breaking Down Kellen Moore's Future as an NFL Quarterback

Matt MillerNFL Draft Lead WriterSeptember 15, 2011

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 03:  Kellen Moore #11 of the Boise State Broncos reacts after a touchdown against the Georgia Bulldogs at Georgia Dome on September 3, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Boise State senior quarterback Kellen Moore is regarded by many as a sure-fire Heisman candidate and perhaps one of the 10 or 15 greatest college quarterbacks of our generation. But that doesn't mean he's a candidate for the NFL.

Many successful college quarterbacks over the years were deemed unfit for NFL duty before they even put on a pro-level helmet. Guys like Eric Crouch, Jason White and Jared Zabransky knew when they left their respective colleges that their days of playing at a high-level were over.

Kellen Moore falls into this group of college quarterbacks who do not have the qualities of an NFL quarterback. What is it about Moore's game that doesn't translate to the NFL? Thanks to YouTube, we can show you.


Arm Strength

The major knock on Moore, and the chief reason he will not be considered for the NFL, is his lack of arm strength. Many want to compare Moore to Drew Brees or Colt McCoy when it comes to size, college production and arm strength. It's simply not true.

While Moore may have the ability to throw a Hail Mary pass, his passes lack the velocity to be delivered at the speed NFL offenses demand. When every defensive back in the NFL runs the 40-yard dash in under 4.5 seconds, the ball has to get to your intended target in a hurry.

A lack of velocity, which is directly tied to how hard the ball is delivered, can kill even the most accurate passers.

Watch here as Moore takes a drop step, fakes the hand off and then throws the ball with visible force. Two problems—he didn't follow through and the ball sailed to the receiver. The receiver should never have had to wait on this pass. He was wide open and would have picked up additional yards if the ball were delivered on target (instead of outside) and on time. The pass was delivered late, too far outside and slow.



Take a look at the video above.

The first thing I want you to notice is how low the ball is on Moore's frame. Quarterbacks are generally taught to hold the ball ear-level in the pocket so that when they are ready to throw the ball there is no delay caused by raising the football. Moore doesn't do this. He drops the ball when he takes his drop step.

Another issue here is the way that Moore holds the football. Take a look at the shot of Moore's arm when throwing versus Tom Brady's arm. See the difference?

Moore is dropping his elbow and turning the ball out, which puts his hand upside down. He'll now have to completely rotate his hand and raise his elbow to throw the ball. Brady? He just pulls back and fires.


At 6'0" and 195 lbs, Kellen Moore is drastically undersized for a quarterback in the NFL.

Drew Brees was 221 lbs, Colt McCoy a full two inches taller and 15 lbs heavier.

Boise State offensive coordinator Brent Pease, a former NFL quarterback, defended his quarterback by saying,

“(Size) is always the topic when it comes to the numbers part of it. But when it comes to drafting guys, you want a guy who’s a winner. Draft the winner. Don’t worry about the size.”

The problem? Winning is a team accomplishment. Guys like David Greene (Georgia) won a ton of football games in college but never made it in the NFL for a reason. They lack the requirements to play the position.

You don't have to be a giant to play quarterback in the NFL, but you have to be bigger than the average NFL blogger.

Moore next to Heisman candidates Andrew Luck and Cam Newton, along with RB LaMichael James
Moore next to Heisman candidates Andrew Luck and Cam Newton, along with RB LaMichael James


A big part of the national perception surrounding Moore is his productivity at Boise State. While impressive, no aspect of football is less important to NFL ability than statistics.

Tom Brady threw for 5,351 yards at Michigan and just 35 touchdowns. Kellen Moore almost did that last year, with 3,845 yards passing and 35 scores. Does that make Moore a better player than Brady? It does not.

Remember Colt Brennan from Hawaii? He was supposed to be a first-round pick after lighting up NCAA defenses in a similar scheme. Brennan was a sixth-round draft pick and is playing in the UFL now.

The scheme at Boise State is built on short passes to space, which exploits the zone defense that most teams choose to play against the vaunted Boise State passing attack. How many passes below do you see Moore throwing against coverage? How many passes is he throwing under pressure?

Moore's statistics will be a great story for his university, but they mean absolutely nothing when looking at his NFL potential.