Over the past few months, we’ve been taking an in-depth look at each of the Jets’ rookies. We’re now taking a break from that to bring you our scouting report on the recent veteran addition, offensive tackle Morgan Moses.
The 30-year old Moses is listed at 6’6” and 330 pounds and was a third round pick out of Virginia in 2014. He had spent his entire career with Washington, starting 96 straight games from 2015 to 2020, but was released in May.
Moses was a four-star recruit who was an all-American in high school and ultimately enrolled at Virginia following a year in a prep school.
He began his career behind the more-heralded Oday Aboushi who would go on to be drafted by the Jets in 2013. However, he started seven games in his freshman year.
In 2011, he became the starting right tackle and only missed one start over the next two seasons, earning an all-ACC honorable mention in 2012.
He returned for his senior year to complete his degree and moved over to left tackle, where he started all 12 games and earned all-ACC third team honors.
Heading into the draft, he had a disappointing combine but was still viewed by many, including Todd McShay, as a mid-first rounder. However, he slipped into the third round and was selected by Washington with the 66th pick.
Moses started the year off on the bench but was called into action a few times, with one start, due to injury. He looked a bit out of his depth and then got hurt and landed on injured reserve.
In 2015, he returned in better shape and had an outstanding preseason to earn the right tackle role as rookie Brandon Scherff moved inside.
Over the next six seasons, Moses started every game and was consistently reliable. While he hasn’t made a pro bowl, he’s been considered as a solid starter and was rewarded with a lucrative five-year extension in 2017.
However, he was released with a year left on the contract despite arguably having the best season of his career in 2020. The Jets signed him to a one year deal last week.
Now let’s take a look at what Moses brings to the table, divided into categories.
Moses is extremely big and has outstanding length, which he uses to his advantage. When he arrived at Virginia, he was 350 pounds but lost weight over the course of his career and tipped the scales at 314 at the combine. He’s been listed at around 330 for most of his pro career.
He is not regarded as a very good athlete and his combine numbers were mostly poor, although his broad jump was pretty good.
At his pro day, he improved his 40-time and vertical jump to a more acceptable level but injured himself doing the 40 and then again while doing the bench press, so ultimately his athletic profile is probably better than his numbers would suggest, especially since he got in better shape after his rookie year.
Nevertheless he certainly lacks the elite athletic profile of some of his new linemates on the Jets roster.
Moses has primarily played right tackle with Washington and that’s expected to be his role with the Jets. He played 125 of his 130 snaps, including one start, at left tackle in his rookie year though. Last season he saw his first action there since then when he filled in during one game and then started the next one following an injury.
There was some suggestion, primarily from fans, that Moses should move to right guard with the Jets, but this isn’t going to happen. Moses did start one game at guard in his college career but this was over 10 years ago. Otherwise he started at right tackle for the first three years before moving over to the left for his senior year.
Moses is not flawless in pass protection, but his overall numbers have been solid and he’s displayed remarkable consistency.
According to Pro Football Focus, Moses gave up exactly five sacks in each of the last five seasons and six in his other year as a starter.
His pressure numbers have also been consistent. He’s given up fewer than 40 total pressures in each of his six years as a starter.
His long arms are his key attribute in pass protection as even when losing leverage he will force pass rushers to go the long way around to buy the quarterback an extra split second. The fact that he’s strong and aggressive doesn’t hurt either.
Moses has generally held his own, even when matched up against good pass rushers. However, he can get beaten from time to time. On this play, Yannick Ngakoue’s speed enables him to get upfield and Moses gets off balance as he tries to recover.
With his size, Moses is not easy to bull rush and usually anchors well. However, he has been known to get sloppy with his pad level sometimes.
Moses is expected to be a difference maker in the running game as he comes off a season where he graded out as the sixth best run blocking tackle in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus.
At the point of attack, he works well in tandem with his teammates and has the power to blow his man off the line.
He is also capable of climbing to the second level and making blocks in space. However, despite his reputation as not being particularly athletic, that doesn’t mean he can’t get on the move and make good blocks on outside runs.
Against good players, he can allow the defender to get off his block when he is inconsistent with his pad level or loses a hand fighting battle.
With his size and strength, Moses is a good option to run behind in short yardage situations. Washington scored nine rushing touchdowns from inside the three-yard line in the 2020 regular season.
Moses can be effective on screen passes, as he is athletic enough to get out in front of the ball carrier and lock onto a defender to take him out.
There were also some occasions where he got held up at the line or failed to find a block in space though.
The first thing to notice about Moses is that he looks a bit stiff and mechanical when dropping into his stance for pass protection. He takes choppy kick-slide steps and doesn’t look balanced but it seems to work for him as he’s into his stance quickly and looks more comfortable once he is.
However, it’s still a concern because if an elite edge rusher comes off the edge at speed, they can beat him to a spot before he’s balanced enough to engage them properly.
There were other technical flaws to his game which Moses has fixed since entering the league because he was always a bit stiff and had a tendency to bend at the waist. He’s improved in these areas since getting to work under Bill Callahan.
He shows good technique on the reach block here, quickly getting to the inside shoulder and then angling off his man to create a lane to the end zone.
One thing he also does well is when he locks onto a block he uses finesse and technique to stay in control of his man rather than being over-aggressive and losing contact.
Moses’ on-field discipline has been poor over the course of his career. He’s reached double digits in terms of total penalties three times in his six years as a starter including an NFC-leading 15 in 2018. He did claim that there was a lot of ticky-tack calls and that he had perhaps been unfairly labelled by officials who were flagging him for the same things other tackles were doing all the time.
During his career, he has had 28 holding penalties and 23 false starts. However, he only had two of each in 2020, as he ended the year with a more encouraging seven penalties.
He’s had four personal fouls including one for unnecessary roughness and one for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Moses’ only special teams contributions at the pro level have been as a blocker on the placekicking unit. He has played this role in every season though and hasn’t made any mistakes.
Moses moves well from assignment to assignment well in the running game and has a good understanding of angles although he sometimes doesn’t find anyone to block when out in space.
He handles stunts well, where his long arms are a major asset to allow him to pass his man off and pick up a stunting lineman.
The main concern with him is his focus because he’s had so many false starts. On this play, he got the snap count wrong and allowed a Dee Ford sack.
There was also a series early on in his career where he made a few mistakes and then was beating himself up about this so much that he forgot he was on the field goal team and Washington had to burn a timeout.
When Moses was a draft prospect, a report indicated that the Dolphins weren’t interested in him due to work ethic concerns. This was interesting because Miami’s offensive coordinator, Bill Lazor, held the same position at Virginia during Moses’ first three seasons there.
However, another report shortly afterwards indicated that these concerns were unfounded and Chip Smith, the man who was training him for the draft, was quick to praise his work ethic and eagerness to learn. He apparently studies hard and rarely repeats a mistake.
Moses attended a military academy before college, so should have a disciplined background and won an award for classroom work and charitable endeavors in his freshman season.
He developed into a leader at both Virginia and Washington and Jay Gruden said that he had earned his contract extension for his hard work and patience. He’s also demonstrated toughness and durability.
Moses had a reputation as someone who could get caught up in chippiness sometimes and was once almost ejected from a Virginia game after retaliating following some trash talking. However, he seems to have matured since entering the league. This has extended to his film study habits and conditioning work.
He is a finisher and has a nasty edge on the field. He won’t pass up a chance to dish out some punishment.
As noted, Moses has started every game over the last six years and will hopefully provide the Jets with some much-needed durability. He did have a significant foot injury in 2016, but showed toughness by playing through it as the team had a few other injuries at the time.
He also played through groin and hip injuries last year and ankle and knee injuries in 2018 and 2019, although he has never played 100 percent of the snaps.
In his rookie year, Moses was placed on injured reserve with a Lisfranc injury in his foot that required surgery, but obviously he rehabbed well to overcome this.
He missed one start during his college career, but the injury can’t have been that serious because he entered the game when his replacement was also injured.
At his pro day, he pulled his hamstring running the 40 and then injured his pectoral on the bench press.
Moses arguably is not an ideal scheme fit for the outside zone runs that the Jets are expected to make a staple of their running game because he’s less athletic than the likes of George Fant. However, that’s not their entire run blocking scheme and the Jets no doubt got a good idea of what he can and can’t do when they worked him out so they should play to his strengths.
In pass protection, scheme fit is less of a concern. Moses is considered to be more reliable than Fant and this might be the main priority behind the Jets making this signing.
Moses was a teammate of current Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder while in Washington.
The Moses signing was almost universally heralded by Jets fans who view him as an obvious upgrade over Fant but it’s interesting to contrast this with the views of some Washington fans who became frustrated with all his penalties in recent years.
However, he’s earned himself a reputation as a reliable player and his inclusion could have positive knock-on effects as it will free up Fant to give the team much better depth than they’ve had in recent years and also maybe contribute in jumbo packages.
Moses should be exactly the sort of veteran leader that will complement the Jets recent draft picks well and gives the Jets an offensive line that has the potential to be one of the better ones in the league if everyone stays healthy, while also giving them a chance to still be solid if everyone doesn’t.