To the surprise of anyone who closely monitored the pre-draft evaluation process, Virginia offensive tackle Morgan Moses didn’t hear his name called until the third round when the Washington Redskins swooped him up with pick No. 66 overall.
Of course, surprises are a given during the NFL draft. The uncertainty surrounding the event is a big reason why it’s such a spectacle in the first place. But this particular surprise just didn’t add up.
Moses, you see, was thought to be a potential first-round pick by many pundits. His high ceiling is propelled by incredibly long arms and a massive frame that should enable him to stifle the league’s top pass rushers. In an increasingly pass happy league, that potential is invaluable.
Moses was also perceived to be a plausible Week 1 starter at right or left tackle, with collegiate experience at both spots to back up that claim. For whatever reason, though, teams just weren’t nearly as high on Moses as draft analysts were.
His weaknesses were discussed, like a lack of physicality in the running game, some sloppy technique and high-maintenance conditioning, but weren’t expected to dilute his stock as much as they did.
With all that said, the Redskins either obtained a steal in the third round or a player teams weren’t particularly fond of for good reason. His tenure in the nation’s capital has yet to affirm why some boldly predicted he would sneak into the draft’s first round (obviously, it’s very early and OTAs are rarely an accurate barometer).
New head coach Jay Gruden recently admitted that Moses has “a ways to go” before challenging incumbent starting right tackle Tyler Polumbus for first-team duties. Polumbus, who was Pro Football Focus’ No. 19 highest rated offensive tackle in 2013, already offers the Redskins quality pass protection, but, like Moses projects to, struggles to generate much for the ground game.
Thus, Moses’ potential in pass protection won’t be suffice to earn him the starting job in training camp or anytime soon. Developing into a proficient run blocker in Washington’s outsize zone scheme must be his ambition as he enters the summer.
For now, Moses is set to enter the 2014 season as a likely backup and developmental project. But, if he can surprise in the areas many believe he’ll struggle with in addition to shutting down edge rushers like he’s expected to, Moses could fight his way onto the Redskins’ starting lineup in the near future.
Cody Strahm is an NFL Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @CodyJStrahm.