Eye-catching title, right? I've always liked Kellen Moore. He's a highly accurate QB that produced enormous statistics in college. And that's why the Titans should draft him in a late round. Seriously. I know, I know, "THE LOCKER HATE HAS STARTED AGAIN!!11!!11" but nothing could be further from the truth. This has nothing to do with Jake Locker. I hope he has a lengthy career as an elite QB in Tennessee. This however, centers around the fact quarterbacks are the most valuable players in the league.
In D. Reese's post a few days ago, I recommended we look at some different and controversial roster moves. This is one of them. I'm aware that many will vehemently disagree with me on this one, and that's fine. My goal here to provide a different viewpoint on this idea, and at the least start some serious discussion. So let's get into the reasons why we should draft Kellen Moore.
[I'm aware that the Titans selecting Moore has about a 0.01% chance of happening, but I'm not Webster and my job isn't on the line.]
Reason #1: QBs are the most valuable players.
Most if not all of us are high on Jake Locker's prospects. I am also a huge fan of Matt Hasselbeck's. I love our two QBs right now. Things change quickly in the NFL though, and one thing I'm certain of is that you can never have enough talented QBs. You'll never hear a team complain that they're overloaded at the position- at the least you can deal one for picks. Let me spin this forward a bit though, and since I'm playing genie I'll grant us our wish of Locker developing into a solid QB. So why should we look at Moore? Because you always want a backup you can trust. Hasselbeck will be that for at least one or two years, but after that its anyone's guess.
Reason #2: Kellen Moore under the right environment has a chance to be very, very good.
This past year Moore had a blistering 74.3% completion rate, good for a career rate of 69.8%. I know he played in a system that aids QBs in putting up above average stats. Quite simply, I don't care. A 74.3% completion rate is impressive, no matter what system you're in. He's also got a quick release and makes good decisions. At Boise he had a 5:1 TD to INT ratio. Let me put a hold on the Moore lovefest for a second, and go over his weaknesses. He has a weak arm. That's a fair assessment, but its also something I care very little about. Arm strength is continually overrated. It doesn't matter how far you can throw it if you can't hit a receiver. I thought this was particularly interesting, a comment from screen name ct17 over at Mocking the Draft:
There is no doubt that his arm strength will limit him in the NFL. But if you watch what he did at Boise State, he showed talent. It seemed like 8 different guys caught the ball every game. A common complaint about college QBs is their lack of progression through reads; Moore had no problem finding and throwing to the 5th read, even if it was a freshman TE in one of his three snaps in the game. And last year, he had no problem hitting Young in full stride on those deep throws that helped Young vault into the 2nd round.
I also have concerns about his transition to a pro-style offense. His best shot at success is to sit and learn the game a while, and that's why this pick makes sense for the Titans. Locker and Hasselbeck will be here in tandem for at least two years. Once Hasselbeck retires or moves on, Moore will have been our 3rd string QB for two years, and we can hopefully promote him to the position of Locker's Career Backup. Hopefully with all the practice time, Moore can iron out some of the issues in his game. That leads us to point 3...
Reason #3: Moore would make an ideal backup.
Due to his height and lack of arm strength, many believe Moore lacks the top traits needed to become a starter in the league, but that doesn't mean he holds no value. I feel like Moore would make the perfect backup if the team grooms him correctly. Why wouldn't you want an uber-accurate QB stepping in to run your offense if the starter went down? Even if you think he's got a terrible arm, the high accuracy and quick release are perfect traits for a game manager.
Reason #4: All reward...
If Moore pans out, you've found yourself a really good backup. Maybe his stock rises dramatically like Matt Flynn's. And if it doesn't?
Reason #5: There's no risk involved.
There is no pressure on the Titans that they absolutely, positively can't miss on this pick like there was last year. No one would expect anything out Moore. What happens if you draft him and he really, really sucks? Can't convert to a pro-style offense, struggles to adjust to the speed of the game? You cut him with no damage to the roster.
"But what about all those players you're passing up on?"
Let's look at our fifth round picks from the last 5 years: Karl Klug, Robert Johnson, Javon Ringer, and Antonio Johnson. We certainly have had some success here finding contributing players, so I wouldn't advocate for Moore to be selected in the fifth. Next up, our sixth rounders: Byron Stingily, Rusty Smith and Myron Rolle, Jason McCourty and Dominique Edison, Jacob Ford and Ryan Smith. We seem to have struck late round gold with McCourty (and I'd argue Ford too), but that shouldn't skew our opinion of sixth rounders. A lot of times they're cut without a peep from the masses. Finally, the Mariani round: Zach Clayton and Tommie Campbell, Marc Mariani and David Howard, Ryan Durand and Nick Schommer, Cary Williams, and Mike Otto. Everyone loves the seventh round, because every fan feels they've found that hidden gem. In our case, we've had success with Mariani and probably Mike Otto, and Cary Williams went on to start with the Ravens. Again though, you're going to get a fair share of guys who aren't even going to step foot on the field on game day. If Moore is available in the sixth or seventh rounds, the Titans really have nothing (or at least not much) to lose by drafting him.
So there's my argument. I wouldn't call it a particularly strong one, but I think its worth considering come draft day. For what its worth, this is not a Kellen Moore-specific principle for me. I would draft a late round QB every few years in hopes that he develops into a backup. This year, I think the QB that best fits is Moore. So what about Rusty and why would I want to move from him already? Wyatt said last year that Titans coaches 'knew what they had' in Rusty Smith. The coaches have changed, but if the Titans strongly believe he's the backup of the future, then no, you don't draft another QB. But if you have doubts (and I certainly do) that he can be a solid backup, I think we should start looking at late round QBs.
[NoMoreMoustache and I had a brief discussion on selecting Moore during MCM Radio, and while I had been doing some thinking on the topic, he was the first to publicly voice his support for this move, so I feel it necessary to point out. He deserves some credit for the idea as well.]