Minnesota Vikings interview subject has size, flexibility

The Minnesota Vikings interviewed a versatile offensive lineman at the NFL Scouting Combine that knows he needs to work on his technique but is confident in his abilities.

Taylor Moton went from his college coach, P.J. Fleck, going to coach in Minnesota to receiving interest from the Minnesota Vikings.

Moton had a formal interview with the Vikings at the NFL Scouting Combine, and, despite the Vikings signing two offensive tackles in free agency since that interview, their interest in Moton still makes sense for a few reasons. The team can’t afford not to keep infusing youth and prospects on the offensive line, General Manager Rick Spielman said there was a possibility that Mike Remmers, one of the free-agent tackles signed, could also play guard, and Moton started at guard his junior year at Western Michigan.

Moton is the fourth-ranked tackle and a second-round prospect, according to NFLDraftScout.com, while Scout.com has as the seventh-ranked tackle and in the third-round range.

At Western Michigan, Moton was a four-year starter, playing all but his junior season at right tackle.

“Just about every team I’ve talked to, I’ve talked to every team … said they love versatile guys. Some teams look at me more as a guard, some teams look at me more as a tackle,” Moton said. “I tell them I can do both. I’ll do whatever position you need me to be. Wherever I go, I know I’ll go in there and fight for a starting job right away.”

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Moton had a strong Senior Bowl, playing mostly right tackle, and continued to solidify the idea that he is a Day 2 pick. 

The 6-foot-5, 319-pounder believes he showed NFL teams at the Senior Bowl that he can move well for a big guy and pass protect, but he doesn’t have a preference on playing guard or tackle.

“I know I played tackle this past year, but I’ve been working guard as well, so wherever I go I’ll make sure I’m ready when they throw me in there,” he said.

He certainly has experience as a starter. Over his four-year career, he started all 42 games and helped turn Western Michigan from a 1-11 record as a freshman to a 13-1 record in 2016.

These days, he’s feeling all grown up.

“It’s one of the biggest transitions of my life. It might be even bigger than going from high school to college,” he said. “Now I’m really on my own. Going down to Orlando, that’s where I’m training, being that far away from everybody, my fans and my family, now I really feel like I’m a professional now, so everything I’m doing I know there is money on the line. Every time I train, that’s what it’s about. At the same time, you’ve got to enjoy the process. I know this is only going to come around once.”

At the NFL Combine, Moton was in the top third of offensive linemen for arm length, hand size and was one of the best in the 20-yard shuttle.

“People said I did really well at the Senior Bowl. I’m not really satisfied so I just figure out what I can do to work better on,” he said. “They had me drop some weight. I dropped down like 10 pounds to 320. I feel better and just continue to work on pass-pro footwork. Wherever I go I know it will be different, but keep refining technique. I think that’s how people say it in the NFL.”

Moton has the size, but NFL Draft Scout’s analysis says he is inconsistent using his hands.

“Waist-bender and frequently finds himself off balance with his shoulders lunged past his feet. Forceful kick-slide, making him susceptible to inside moves,” analyst Dane Brugler wrote about Moton’s weaknesses. “Poor hand tactics and placement, inviting rushers into his frame – got away with this in college because MAC rushers couldn’t move him. Inconsistent base and needs to better use his lower body to angle block, relying too much on his upper half. Head ducker. No problem advancing to the second level, but needs to stay off the ground and be more consistent breaking down in space.”

While the MAC is a fair question, Moton also faced some tough competition when playing against Big 10 teams, including Wisconsin’s T.J. Watt.

“I’m confident,” Moton said. “I’m more than good enough to play in the NFL. That’s why I’m here. A lot of other people feel that way.”

Count the Vikings among them.


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