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“SH: Moton could thrive at both right guard and right tackle in the NFL, because he has experience and the necessary skill sets for both positions. He can drive through defenders to create large gaps and possesses loads of power, but is not as adept in the footwork department. While these attributes better define guards than tackles in the NFL, Moton proved to be an elite right tackle in his senior season at Western Michigan. He is built like a tackle at 6-feet-5-inches tall and 319 pounds. Given the Panthers’ current depth, I think the former Bronco could see his first snaps at right tackle in the NFL.
The Panthers have two quality starting guards in Andrew Norwell and Trai Turner, but the right tackle position seems more up-for-grabs with Daryl Williams, Michael Oher, and now Moton as the candidates for the job. Mike Remmers’ departure certainly opened up a gap there, and I believe Moton could work himself into a starting right tackle at a young age. But if the Panthers experience any injuries at the guard position over the course of 2017, he will probably fill in and play at the right guard spot.
CSR: While not everyone agrees, I thought Moton was impressive against Wisconsin OLB TJ Watt (who was drafted by the Steelers in Rd1), but understand he was even more impressive against Illinois DE Dawuane Smoot, who was drafted just four picks after Moton. I watched the Wisconsin game live, but never found any tape of the Illinois game. I also noticed Western Michigan played both Michigan State and Ohio State in 2015. How did you feel Moton did when playing against NFL-level competition (both in the MAC and out of conference)?
SH: Moton may have been overlooked due to playing in the MAC, but he faced plenty of NFL talent throughout his four years and 52 games at Western Michigan. He held his own against Wisconsin’s powerful defense in the Cotton Bowl — one that featured NFL draft picks T.J. Watt and Vince Biegel. The Badgers only recorded two sacks in the game, below their season average. Moton also paved the way for 123 rushing yards in the bowl game, when Wisconsin allowed only 96.9 yards per game — good for second in the FBS in 2016. Against other Big Ten talent, he was equally impressive. Here is the clip of Moton driving through Jaguars’ third round pick Dawuane Smoot, completely removing him from the play during the Broncos’ 34-10 road win over the Fighting Illini.
In the MAC, Moton faced decent pass rushers as well, including Colts third round pick Tarell Basham from Ohio. Although he was not a finalist, Moton’s name was on the Outland Trophy watch list throughout the year, because of his weekly performances against both MAC and Big Ten talent. He led one of the top offensive lines in the nation, a unit that allowed just 15 sacks the entire season in 14 games. Moton proved to be an NFL-caliber tackle during his senior campaign, and he fared well against all levels of competition while playing for the brown and gold.
CSR: The story goes that Moton grew up within a few miles of Spartan’s Stadium, but that Michigan State did not have any interest. Why was Moton so lightly regarded out of high school?
SH: Moton actually arrived in Kalamazoo during the Bill Cubit era, before P.J. Fleck took over and improved the school’s recruiting. But Moton wasn’t a highly touted prospect coming out of Okemos High School. He was undersized and only rated as a two-star recruit. It was during the early 2010s when Michigan State made the leap into a college football power, so the Spartans were seeking higher-rated recruits than Moton. As a result, Moton ended up at Western Michigan, but his game really improved during his tenure there. Fleck did a fantastic job at player development as the Broncos’ coach, and Moton also was gifted with a great mentor in Willie Beavers, current Vikings guard, at Western Michigan. Both of those factors helped contribute to Moton’s status as an NFL draft pick last Friday night.”