The majority of draft-talk surrounding the Western Michigan football program has been centered on potential 2017 1st round pick, WR Corey Davis. While the need for another reliable receiver is well-known, there is another prospect on the Bronco’s roster that could fill a gaping hole on the Chargers' depth chart, both figuratively and literally.
Offensive tackle/guard prospect Taylor Moton is one of the girthiest players in the entire draft. Measuring in at 6’5" and 330 pounds at the NFL Combine, Moton solidified why he should always be the first player getting off the bus.
At WMU, Moton was a 4-year starter along the offensive line. He amassed 25 starts at right tackle across his first two seasons before kicking inside to guard for 2015. In 2016, he moved back outside to tackle where he garnered First-Team All MAC honors to go along with multiple All-American honors to finish out his career.
With massive hands (10 ¾") but less than desired length for the tackle position (33 1/8" arm length), Moton will likely transition back to right guard in the NFL, which most believe to be the more natural position for him.
For some perspective, let's take a look at Moton’s results from the NFL combine:
· Vertical Jump – 30.5 inches (Tied for 3rd among O-Line)
· Broad Jump – 109 inches (6th Best)
· 20 yard shuttle – 4.58 seconds (Tied for 4th)
· 40-yard dash – 5.18 seconds (Tied for 13th)
· Bench Press – 23 reps (Tied for 20th)
· 3-Cone Drill – 7.73 seconds (Tied for 13th)
Check out his spider graph compared to other interior lineman. Overall, Moton performed well and finishing in the top 6 in 3 events. When you consider he had 20-25 pounds on most of the competition, the numbers are even more impressive.
The vertical and broad jump are arguably two of the more important events for an offensive lineman, aside from the 10-yard split. The events demonstrate explosive power in the lower-body which is necessary for bringing your hips through on blocks and quick get-offs from the snap. As you can see above, these were two of his top three events in Indianapolis.
Moton's other top performance, the 20-yard shuttle, exhibits a player's capacity to change direction on a dime. Some general managers have a threshold when it comes to offensive lineman and their agility numbers. For the short shuttle the cut off is 4.75. So Moton’s 4.58 is nothing short of incredible. Based on his time, Moton will resemble a runaway freight train as a pulling guard, just waiting for a poor soul to step on the tracks.
Exhibit A of Moton's physicality from NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlin:
When the B gap turns into the F gap. #TaylorMoton pic.twitter.com/B22k368OD1— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) November 22, 2016
On a read option, Moton has Illinois defensive end Dawuane Smoot lined up to his inside. Whether or not his responsibility was to wash Smoot down the line of scrimmage, it was still the end result. Within seconds of the snap, Moton takes Smoot and tosses him clear to the other side of the line into the "F" gap.
You definitely don't see that every day, do you?
Against Illinois, he continually moved defenders over gaps. It was impressive.
Not often you see a lineman start with his butt in 1 end zone and finish with it in the opposite end zone. Safe to say that means he controlled the rep. The difference with Moton is he has good technique, it’s not just raw power.
Above you see him load up from the ground up to generate force, get his hands inside, and drive his feet. That’s what the Chargers are missing.
Moton is the player that fans wanted recently released 1st rounder D.J. Fluker to be. The good news is you can get a better player a full round or more later. He is a brick sh*thouse. What he lacks in footwork and length for the tackle position, he more than makes up for with his athleticism and the brute strength that makes him an elite run blocker.
If you saw him play against Ohio State during his junior year, you would know what I mean. Draft pundits have routinely referenced this game as Moton showcased his ability to move OSU's interior lineman at will. Just look at the 1st play of the game, for instance.
Moton starts inside the hash and ends up driving his man to the B1G sign.
Another reason to admire Moton's play, is that he relishes in finishing blocks. He has that "prick" mentality you need in an offensive lineman.
Here he is against Wisconsin OLB T.J. Watt, another potential 1st round pick:
As the backside tackle on this play, Moton simply has to cut off Watt from going inside. Not content with just getting the job done, Moton takes advantage of Watt easing up and takes him for a ride. I think we can all agree that this mentality has been sorely lacking among the Chargers' trenches.
Even at his size, Moton still flashes above-average mobility and body control. He won't jump off the screen in the same way Utah’s Garrett Bolles does, but he gets the job done, nonetheless.
This next play involves Wisconsin's other dangerous edge rusher, Vince Biegel. As you can see, Moton is patient. He trusts his athleticism, does a good job mirroring, and counters Biegel's spin move with ease.
Moton was superb against 2 very athletic rushers. You love to see a prospect play at a high level against his best competition.
Now let's look at a play from the 2015 season when Moton was still playing inside at right guard.
The play call is a tunnel screen to his side. After a false pass set, Moton runs with the playside linebacker who sniffed out the screen immediately. Moton doesn't reach his man entirely but he does get enough of the body to take him down. Result: Touchdown.
With T.J. Lang recently signing to the Lions, the free agency crop got thin in a hurry at guard. Taylor Moton has made a strong case to be considered fairly early in the second round and would come at a fraction of the cost compared to any free agent the team would sign. He’s a better player than the current backups on the roster.
Experience? Check. Tough as all get-out? Check. Proven winner? Check.
This guy could help the Bolts "row the boat" all the way to the Promised Land.