Eagles Draft Target: OT Morgan Moses

Eagles Draft Target: OT Morgan Moses
February 23, 2014, 11:00 am
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Virginia's OT Morgan Moses, seen here at the NFL Scouting Combine, would be able to slide in as starter if Jason Peters doesn't return to the Eagles in 2015. (AP)

Each Sunday we'll examine a potential draft pick for the Eagles -- first round or otherwise. Today we'll take a look at a versatile offensive tackle out of Virginia.

Morgan Moses
Position: OT
Height/Weight: 6-6, 314
School: Virginia

The Eagles enjoyed a very solid, and healthy, season from their offensive line in 2013. All five starters in Week 1 played together the entire season -- a pleasant departure from the nightmare the O-line went through in 2012 (see Demetress Bell). And while there were some moments of trepidation with Todd Herremans' early season play and some understandable growing pains for rookie Lane Johnson, there wasn't much to complain about. So why consider taking an offensive lineman early in the draft? 

Left tackle Jason Peters made the Pro Bowl this season after coming back from two Achilles injuries, but he's already 32, and if the Eagles make a long playoff run he'll be turning 33 during the postseason. Which in and of itself isn't a cause for alarm, but the fact he'll be a free agent after the season is. Older tackles, especially left tackles, aren't always a commodity you want to invest big money into. Especially ones with two aforementioned Achilles injuries under their belt. 

In Johnson, the Birds have their future left tackle if Peters isn't retained post-2014, but they have nobody in line to take over on the right side. The cupboard is simply bare. 

Moses, a second team Coaches All-ACC performer in 2013, has experience playing both left and right tackle in his 43 career starts at UVA. As a senior, he started all 12 games on the left side. 

Moses' size is impressive, including his long arms (35 3/8") which he uses to great effect to steer defenders away from the quarterback. But size alone doesn't make him the first-round prospect he is -- that would be his nimble feet. For such a big man, Moses has excellent agility and the ability to get to the edge quickly. His strong lower half anchors well and Moses can really stone pass rushers trying to bull rush him. 

As a run blocker, Moses can be explosive out of his stance, using his long arms and feet to seal off defenders and reach the second level. He shows a nasty demeanor as well -- always blocking to the whistle. 

And while this may not count for much, Moses has a great beard and he's a Cavalier -- Wahoowa!

Like many tall linemen, Moses tends to bend at the waist and drop his head on occasion while run blocking, losing leverage and contact with the defender. 

While he has very quick feet he doesn't seem to trust that he can get out to block quicker, edge rushers sometimes, taking deeper drops than he probably needs to. If he switches to the right side of the line, this might not be as big an issue. 

Moses came to Charlottesville weighing 350 pounds and might have to really watch himself to keep the pounds off. Might not be an issue with Chip Kelly's strong emphasis on diet and fitness. 

How he'd fit with the Eagles
From the start Moses would be the swing tackle behind Peters and Johnson. He has the experience and physical tools to excel on either side. Beyond 2014, Moses would slide in as the starter on the right side of the line as Johnson takes over as the left tackle.

Moses appears to have the strong character the Eagles now seem to be putting an emphasis on, as well as the size and demeanor Kelly covets. 

At pick No. 22 taking Moses might be a bit of a luxury pick for the near-term, but Howie Roseman doesn't strike me as a guy who drafts for only the next 16 games. I don't see Moses slipping to the Eagles' second-round pick (No. 54), so if they pass on him in the first round, a player like Tennessee's Ja'Waun James or Clemson's Brandon Thomas might be a fit in the second. 

Prospect reflection: Duane Brown (Virginia Tech): First round (26th overall) by Houston Texans

Draft projection: First Round (top 20-30)