By Chadd Cripe
© 2012 Idaho Statesman
When agent David Dunn considers which college quarterbacks to sign each year, he relies on three well-known former NFL quarterbacks for advice — clients Trent Dilfer and Steve Young, a pair of Super Bowl champions who now work for ESPN, and former Jets quarterback Ken O’Brien, who coaches quarterbacks during draft prep for Dunn’s agency.
All three recommended Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore. Moore and Arizona’s Nick Foles are this year’s quarterbacks for Athletes First, Dunn’s Irvine, Calif.-based agency.
“They were all really intrigued by just how much (Moore) gets the game, how much he understands the game,” Dunn said. “… It was unanimous that he made sense.”
Moore (North) and Foles (South) are roommates in Irvine who will play on opposite sides in the Senior Bowl on Saturday in Mobile, Ala.
“It’s fun to watch them compete with each other, but most of all to watch them hang around with each other,” Dunn said. “I have sort of a paternal view of this. It’s neat when they get along. … They work out 100 yards from my office. I see them every day. They come into my office, they eat and we catch up.”
The first Senior Bowl practices are this afternoon, with the Vikings (North) and Redskins (South) coaches installing the playbooks. The players will wear pads Tuesday and Wednesday, the two days that attract the most NFL personnel.
Dunn will be there to keep an eye on his clients.
He has a long history with quarterbacks like Moore, raised or groomed in the Northwest and without elite draft grades. His clients include Derek Anderson (Oregon State), Sean Canfield (Oregon State), Kellen Clemens (Oregon), A.J. Feeley (Oregon) and Jake Locker (Washington). Other quarterbacks on his client list include Mark Sanchez, Matt Schaub, Aaron Rodgers, Kyle Orton, Carson Palmer, Colt McCoy, Matt Leinart, Matt Hasselbeck and Matt Cassel. (Full list here.)
Dunn also has worked with Jake Plummer (Boise, Arizona State), John Friesz (Idaho) and Drew Bledsoe (Washington State).
“I just have always really liked the geography of it because the guys (from the Northwest) tend to be better grounded, just better adjusted through and after their careers,” Dunn said.
He met with Moore for the first time last summer and got along well with his family.
“We got along very well from the start,” he said.
Dunn used his connections to get Moore a head start on Senior Bowl week. Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave (Oregon) is another client.
Dunn arranged a phone call between Musgrave and Moore (he put Foles in touch with Redskins quarterback John Beck).
“By definition, it’s an awfully quick process, which favors (Moore),” Dunn said of the Senior Bowl. “I’d rather have him than just about anybody else just because of how studious he is about his craft. … (Talking to Musgrave) gives a smart guy a head start.”
Dunn estimates NFL teams have completed 80 to 85 percent of their player evaluations already. The rest will be done at the Senior Bowl, the NFL Scouting Combine in late February, pro day in March and during individual workouts and player visits to team facilities. The draft is April 26-28.
“It’s the film, it’s the playing, that defines these guys,” Dunn said, “so you can see Kellen’s vision and decision-making in all the numerous games that he’s played far better than you can in a more artificial environment like the Senior Bowl. But that’s not to say the last 15 to 20 percent isn’t significant. This is where, especially with quarterbacks, if you’re going to draft a quarterback and sort of give your franchise to him, you’re going to judge the person so much.”
Moore is among five Broncos at the Senior Bowl — matching the school’s previous total of invitees. The others are tailback Doug Martin, defensive tackle Billy Winn, safety George Iloka and defensive end Shea McClellin. All will wear their usual numbers except for Iloka (18).
Martin also is a Dunn client.
“Running backs of his stature are just doing well in the league right now,” Dunn said. “He’s coming around at the right time and obviously he finished his career awfully strong.”
Here are the complete Senior Bowl rosters.
Here is the Mobile Press-Register’s story on Senior Bowl week, which includes a photo of Moore.
I am on my way to Mobile today and will be there all week to cover the Senior Bowl. I’m expecting to catch up with the five Broncos at a media event this evening and will post some comments from them. Then look for coverage of practice tomorrow morning.
Dunn has a couple other clients of local interest:
— He said wide receiver Austin Pettis, a former Bronco who was a rookie with the St. Louis Rams last season, didn’t appeal his suspension for violating the NFL rules on performance-enhancing drugs to minimize the impact on next season. Pettis served two games of the suspension in 2011 and will miss the first two games of 2012. “It’s likely to be a blip — he’s an awfully, awfully talented player,” Dunn said of the impact on Pettis’ career. “He was coming into his own. His talent will get him through.”
— He also represents former Boise State defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, the new coordinator at Washington. Feeley first introduced Wilcox to Dunn. “He introduced me to him years ago. He said, ‘Dave, I want to introduce you to somebody who is going to be a head coach someday,’ ” Dunn said. “As I’ve spent time with him, that much is clear.”
Oregon coach Chip Kelly saved us all from another round of Chris Petersen job rumors last night. He turned down the Tampa Bay Bucs to stay at Oregon. Here is the ESPN story.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a feature on former Boise State coach Dirk Koetter, the Falcons’ new offensive coordinator.