I could be wrong, but I don't believe the Carolina Panthers will be in a position to pounce on a top tier offensive tackle with the 28th pick. Even if the 2014 NFL draft was filled with a bumper crop of the elite variety(which it doesn't seem to be), the odds would be overwhelmingly against one of them being available that late anyway. Nevertheless, because the talent is particularly thin this year, there could be an early run on tackles, which may compel the Panthers to take someone earlier that they would prefer, especially in light of the fact that there is a glaring need. With that being said, I give you OT Morgan Moses.
Let's go ahead and get this out the way first. Moses is a mountain of a man. At 6-Foot-6, 325-Pounds, the Richmond native has just the type of size that our general manager covets. In fact, these measurements were confirmed yesterday during the initial weigh-in portion of the Senior Bowl. If you're looking for answers as to why he started every game(when healthy) during his four year career at the University of Virginia, then his formidable tree branch arms would be a good place to start. Moses' arm length and wingspan measured in at almost 35 and 84 inches, respectively. His tree trunks for legs pass the eye test as well. Now that you have an idea about what he brings to the table from a purely physical standpoint, let's turn our attention for a moment to his on field performance.
It didn't take long for Moses to make an impact at Virginia. From day one, he earned the starting nod at the right tackle position, where he was a fixture for the next three years. It was during this time that Moses developed into a menacingly tenacious run blocker. He uses his heavy hands to generate an impressively powerful punch when initially engaging with a defender and is able to drive them backwards with regularity. Moses isn't the type of player who shy's away from contact or a challenge either. You can see this clearly on film because he plays with a mean streak all the way until the whistle blows. For a man his size, he displays the ability to get to the next level really well and is athletic enough to get his hands on some of the smaller defenders in the open field.
At the beginning of his final season, Moses was given the opportunity to show scouts what he could do on the left side, and he didn't disappoint. He averaged eight pancake blocks a game and graded above 90 percent on his blocking assignments for the entire season. Additionally, his superior ability to open holes in the run game was a key reason why Kevin Parks became the first Virginia running back to rush for a thousand yards in a season since 2004.
Although his pass blocking isn't at the same level as his run blocking, Moses has surprisingly agile lateral movement in his pass sets. Generally speaking, his kick-slide is effective. He gets out of his stance very quickly, maintaining the necessary leverage and balance you like to see as he anchors down. Unfortunately, his technique is a bit sloppy at times. He occasionally becomes a waist bender, which results in a stance that is too high to win the battle against a speed and/or power rush. The good news is that the numbers and film tell us that these lapses were the exception rather than the rule.
When facing off against some of his stiffest competition, Moses fared extremely well. Potential first round pick, Vic Beasley, was unable to produce a single sack when matched up with him and neither did Georgia Tech's, Jeremiah Attaochu, who also figures to be an early round defensive end/outside linebacker. By season's end, Moses had only given up two sacks out of 506 pass plays at left tackle, which is remarkable for someone who, before the season began, was mostly unfamiliar with the technique required to experience success on the blindside.
While Moses' more natural position appears to be at right tackle, it is very encouraging to see how much potential he has to flourish in a pinch or on a more permanent basis on the left side. This is just the type of versatility that scouts value in prospects who are making the leap to the professional level. Perhaps the thing that impressed me the most when watching two of Moses' 2013 games(film) was how much he improved from his third game(Oregon) to his last(Virginia Tech). You can be sure that his growth throughout the season didn't go unnoticed.
From my perspective, Moses has the talent to be a day one starter on the right side, and thrive in doing so. In a perfect world, Gettleman is able to convince Jordan Gross to stick around for another year or two, and then Moses could slide over to the left side after number 69 retires.
When it comes to drafting Moses, things could get a bit tricky. I've seen him projected anywhere from the first round(McShay) to the middle of the third. I would be comfortable taking him in the second, but it wouldn't necessarily surprise me if he is even gone before then, especially if he shows well at the Senior Bowl and combine. Frankly, I will be shocked if the Panthers don't bring Moses into Charlotte for one of their 30 allotted visits because he is worth the time.
What do you think CSR? After you take a look at Moses final game on film, let me know what you think of him and my latest mock draft. I put up a triple double just for you.
2014 Carolina Panthers Mock Draft 2.0
|1||WR Allen Robinson||6' 3"||210||Penn State|
|2||OT Morgan Moses||6' 6"||325||Virginia|
|3||CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste||6' 3"||215||Nebraska|
|4||CB Keith McGill||6' 3"||214||Utah|
|5||WR Cody Hoffman||6' 4"||218||BYU|
|6||OT Cameron Fleming||6' 6"||318||Stanford|
|7||FS Dontae Johnson||6' 2"||199||NC State|