The Washington Redskins made a move to bolster the offensive line charged with protecting quarterback Robert Griffin III, selecting University of Virginia offensive tackle Morgan Moses and Nebraska guard Spencer Long in the third round of the draft.
The Redskins used the 66th overall pick of the draft on Moses, which marks the earliest they have taken a lineman since selecting Trent Williams fourth overall in 2010. They then took Long 78th overall.
In the 6-foot-6, 314-pound Moses, the Redskins get a strong, athletic tackle with great length. Moses entered the draft projected as a late-first to early second-round pick. But Moses – whose inconsistency drew criticisms – wound up sliding down to the second pick of the third round, and into Washington’s lap.
The Redskins this offseason have worked to upgrade their offensive line, signing free agent Shawn Lauvao to start at left guard, moving guard Kory Lichtensteiger to center, and adding backup guard/center Mike McGlynn.
Washington had hoped to add a tackle to compete with incumbent Tyler Polumbus, whose contract expires next offseason, and they accomplished that goal by selecting Moses.
“It was a crazy wait, but I’m just blessed to have the opportunity and to have my name called, to walk across that stage and put that hat on,” Moses said. “Knowing the need that they needed, and getting to sit down with Coach Gruden a couple weeks ago and to have that talk, it’s a great thing. To play alongside a Pro Bowl tackle in Trent Williams and knowing I’m going to block for RGIII, it’s just a blessing to have that. … I just want to be able to get in there and start working right now.”
Moses said that he knows he still has growing and developing to do. But he remains confident in his skill set and aims to compete for the starting right tackle job.
“I feel like I have all the abilities to play at the next level,” Moses said. “So I’m just going to come in there, and come in there to work hard and let everything else fall into place.”
Long, like Moses, boasts good size, athleticism and strength. At 6 feet 5 and 320 pounds, he ranks among the bigger linemen on Washington’s roster. Gruden had said publicly that he wanted to beef up the line, but at the same time, he wanted to make sure that the linemen acquired also had good quickness and mobility.
“They’re big, but it’s not necessarily big that we’re looking for. Size is important. They have some big defensive linemen nowadays, and we want to protect our quarterback the best way we can. But also we want to be athletic and get out and run the football. We’ve been a very successful zone-running team here with athletic offensive linemen. But there’s going to come a time we’re going to have to throw the ball and we’ll need some size in there and these guys will compete.”
Long is coming off an injury-shortened season, but says he has fully recovered from surgery to repair torn medial collateral and posterior collateral ligaments in his left knee. The Redskins’ medical evaluators gave him a passing grade, and Washington felt confident in his abilities.