The most high-profile job fair in the country begins Thursday night in New York.
Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore plans to be back in Prosser, watching the NFL draft like hundreds of other aspiring applicants hoping to land that first job out of college.
The draft is part talent grab, part matchmaking and plenty disorienting for players like Moore, who go from impressive college careers to being immediately plunged into the scrutiny and pseudoscience that is draft evaluation.
“It’s a little bit of an unknown, which is pretty unique for a lot of us who are used to routine,” Moore said via telephone. “For the most part, you can’t control this. You don’t worry about it and get too stressed about it.”
Moore even managed to have some fun along the way. At the scouting combine in February, he asked people to spread the word he measured at 6 feet even though he hadn’t really grown since ninth grade. He has trained with former NFL quarterback Ken O’Brien in southern California and most recently been back in Boise.
Now that process is about to come to a head for Moore, as well as the 32 teams that will decide whether to draft him. His position adds to the importance of the question. Quarterbacks tend to carry a little more weight this time of year. The No. 1 overall pick has been a quarterback in 11 of the previous 14 drafts, and barring apocalyptic intervention, Stanford’s Andrew Luck and Baylor’s Robert Griffin III are expected to be the first two players chosen in the first round, which starts at 5 p.m. Thursday.
This year’s class of quarterbacks goes well beyond those two headliners, though, including Moore and a dozen other prospects the Seahawks will have the opportunity to choose from.
“It’s a varied group is what it is,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “There’s all different sizes and shapes of guys. It’s a good group. There’s good football players across the board, but there’s not three or four guys that are the same.”
There is Arizona State’s Brock Osweiler, who is 6-7 and once committed to Gonzaga University as a basketball prospect; and Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson, a former minor-league baseball player who is listed (perhaps generously) at 5-foot-11.
Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill started his college career as a wide receiver, while Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden turns 29 in October. Moore is 22 and has been married almost a year.
“Each guy’s kind of got his own individual makeup and niche,” Carroll said. “It has been a challenge in that regard. They’re all unique, but we think that there’s really good players and there’s almost one for everybody.”
Even the Seahawks? They signed Matt Flynn to a three-year contract earlier this year, and they still have Tarvaris Jackson, whom Carroll said will compete for the starting spot, and Josh Portis, who showed promise as an undrafted rookie last year.
Would Seattle still be willing to pick a quarterback even though there’s not an obvious vacancy on the depth chart?
“Every year we’re after quarterbacks,” Carroll said. “They’re such a rare commodity that we have to do everything we can to entertain the thought that if any one of those guys comes to us, what would we do?”
Would they take Tannehill at No. 12? Plenty of people think so, though general manager John Schneider said he expects Tannehill to be chosen before Seattle’s turn comes up.
Maybe it’s Osweiler in the second round, perhaps someone like Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins in the third, or it could be that Seattle sees something in Moore and brings him back to his home state.
Then again, the Seahawks were looking to pick a quarterback the past two years and never did. “You can’t just manufacture a guy,” Schneider said. “You can’t just create him.”
A team must wait to find the right guy at the right spot in the draft.
And while the Seahawks are looking through this year’s list of job applicants, trying to find the right person to put under center, Moore and the rest of this year’s class of quarterbacks are waiting to see where they will be working.