INDIANAPOLIS — From a Division II school to undrafted waiver wire pickup to making game-changing plays in the postseason.
To say it’s been an interesting last couple years for Kenny Moore II would be an understatement.
But today, he added yet another, much deserved, chapter.
The Indianapolis Colts today announced they have signed Moore II to a contract extension; terms of the deal were not immediately released.
"Kenny personifies the characteristics that we look for in a Colt with his leadership, tenacity and work ethic,” Colts general manager Chris Ballard said. “We are happy for Kenny and his family. He has done the right things and deserves this. We also appreciate the hard work by Buddy Baker and his team in getting this deal done.”
Moore II was an extremely productive cornerback at Division II Valdosta State, where the First-Team All-American played in 46 games during his four-year career and registered 171 tackles (8.5 for a loss) with two sacks, one forced fumble, 11 interceptions (two returned for touchdowns) and 30 passes defensed.
After going unselected in the 2017 NFL Draft, Moore II initially entered the NFL with the New England Patriots as an undrafted free agent in May 2017; he would be waived by the team during final cuts that September.
Moore II was undersized for a typical NFL cornerback at 5-foot-9, but Ballard said he was convinced to claim the cornerback the very next day after hearing cases from Kevin Rogers, the team’s director of pro personnel, and assistant general manager Ed Dodds.
“So here I’m looking at the numbers, and I’m just looking at 5’9”, 185 pounds, and you’ve seen a good player on tape, but you’re saying, ‘5’9”, a dime a dozen,’” Ballard recalled recently. “And I think it was Ed (Dodds) who said, ‘Look Chris, he’s got 32 1/2-inch arms; it equals out to be taller than what he is.’ And Kevin (Rogers) had been beating me up all night on him. Finally I just relented; I was like, ‘Just take him. … He’s better than what we got.’
“And he ended up being a really good player.”
Moore II had a solid rookie season in 2017 as a spot starter, appearing in all 16 games with five starts and logging 33 tackles (one for a loss) with one interception, five passes defensed and one forced fumble.
But Moore II really turned on the jets last offseason, and would win the starting job as the Colts’ primary nickel cornerback heading into 2018. In 15 starts, Moore II collected 76 tackles (four for a loss) with 1.5 sacks, three interceptions, 11 passes defensed and a forced fumble.
Defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus really turned Moore II loose during the playoffs, when he would set a team postseason record with three sacks.
“He is a mighty guy and he’s really good. He’s great energy. He can do multiple things, which is great,” Eberflus said of Moore II. “But the most important thing he possesses is his attitude. In terms of his character and his attitude — that’s what he possesses and, man, that’s infectious. When you talk about a guy that you want to stand there and say, ‘Hey, this is what we are looking for in terms of attitude, character and the way in which we want our guys to play,’ you can point to that.”
Moore II, who turns 24 in August, will once again be counted on in 2019 as a key contributor for a young, talented Colts secondary that allowed the second-fewest explosive pass plays in the league in 2018, according to SharpFootballStats.com.
“I am keeping the same drive. It’s like a clean slate, you know?” Moore II told reporters on April 23. “I don’t go off of what happened last year. It’s a new season, new me. I am just trying to be a better 2-3. I’m just trying to do everything else better.”