Miami Dolphins Draft Countdown: Making the Case for Morgan Moses

Andrew Tornetta@AndrewTornettaCorrespondent IIApril 14, 2014

The NFL draft is now less than a month away, which means it's time for the second edition of the Miami Dolphins draft countdown series.

In the first edition, I made the case as to why Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley would be the best choice for the Dolphins in the first round.

However, there is always the possibility that Mosley won't be there when the 19th pick rolls around, in which case general manager Dennis Hickey will have to look elsewhere.

If Mosley is no longer on the board, the Dolphins will likely make the decision to draft an offensive lineman with their first pick.

While most would assume that the pick would then be Notre Dame's Zack Martin, the better choice for Miami is Virginia offensive tackle Morgan Moses.

The Dolphins' biggest need is at right tackle, and aside from Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews and Taylor Lewan, Moses is the best pure tackle in the draft.

At 6'6" and 314 pounds, Moses is extremely long and is also strong enough to dominate and move the line of scrimmage while also shutting down pass-rushers coming off the edge.

He is also very light on his feet and can move around very quickly with solid technique. 

He has already shown that he can excel playing in the zone-blocking scheme that the Dolphins run and also is familiar playing for Miami offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, who was Virginia's offensive coordinator from 2010-2012. 

While there are a number of other starting-caliber offensive linemen who can be found throughout the draft, none is capable of being as good at the tackle position as Moses can be.


Morgan Moses vs. Zack Martin

The main argument in favor of drafting Martin is the versatility he would bring to the team.

Martin is capable of playing both guard and tackle and would allow the Dolphins more flexibility to draft the best available offensive lineman in the later rounds.

However, the key here is that it is much harder to find an elite tackle than it is to find an elite guard.

Moses is capable of being that elite tackleMartin is not.

While they are similar in stature, Martin lacks one of the main attributes needed to be a top-of-the-line tackle in the NFL, which is length. notes that Martin's arms measured out to just under 33 inches at the scouting combine, nearly three inches shorter than Moses and in the bottom 20 percent of all offensive linemen in the draft class.

Shorter arms mean a tougher time when going up against speed rushers on the edge, and it's a weakness that will be exploited far more often in the NFL than it was at the college level. 

There is no doubt that Martin has all the tools needed to be an All-Pro guard in the NFL, but his future as a tackle is highly questionable.

While Martin may be the safer pick, Moses has far more upside and is a player capable of holding down the right side of the Dolphins offensive line for the next decade. 

There are a number of quality guards who will be available on the second and third day of the draft—David Yankey, Dakota Dozier, Gabe Jackson, Billy Turner and Joel Bitonio, just to name a few

However, there aren't many tackles capable of providing the impact that Moses can after the first round.


Impact of Moses

Moses is what they call a "dancing bear" due to his massive size and quick feet. 

He is a very smart pass-blocker and is able to react quickly to whatever move the defender throws at him.

This clip of Moses from a game earlier in the season against Clemson is a great example of just how effective Moses can be, even against other top competition.

Moses is matched up against Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley.

Beasley has extraordinary burst and is great at using his speed to beat tackles off the edge, which he did to the tune of 13 sacks, best in the ACC in 2013.

Here, Moses is matched up one-on-one with Beasley, who starts off by trying to use his speed to beat Moses to the outside. However, Moses uses his long arms to push Beasley right past the quarterback, allowing him ample time to complete the pass for a first down.

A few plays later, Beasley then tried to beat Moses with a quick inside move. But this time, Moses slid right back inside and used his big hands to get on top of Beasley and once again completely neutralized the pass rush.

Along with his excellent pass blocking, Moses is also a strong run-blocker thanks to an impressive first step and ability to burst through to the second level. 

He is also a very tough player and does a great job of always fighting to the whistle and finishing his blocks. 

Take a look at this play from Moses earlier in the season against BYU:

At the snap of the ball, Moses runs out to the left and completely manhandles the BYU linebacker.

Not only does he push him right out of bounds, but he also continues to hold his block even after taking him out of the play.

It's a great example of the type of effort Moses consistently puts in on every play and the type of edge and attitude that he plays with.

The biggest question surrounding Moses is his overall commitment and ability to maintain his weight, which he struggled with throughout his college career.

However, providing he can stay in shape and continues to improve on his technique, Moses is the type of player who can develop into one of the elite tackles in the NFL. 


Andrew Tornetta is a Miami Dolphins Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Check out his B/R archive and follow him on Twitter @AndrewTornetta.


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