Carolina Panthers rookie offensive tackle (and No. 64 overall pick) Taylor Moton shared last week that he is a bit of an academic. Before getting drafted, he was pursuing an MBA in accounting.
But to play both left and right tackle in the NFL takes a whole different type of mental dexterity.
This week, that’s what head coach Ron Rivera told Moton he will have to do, according to the latter.
Rivera confirmed as much on Friday, after a second rookie minicamp practice during which Moton drilled on both the right and left side against defensive ends before taking extra work on the tackling sled after the session.
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“Yeah, he’s going to have to be ambidextrous,” said Rivera. “He’s going to have to be able to play left side and right side. He’s going to have to help us in terms of that, and give that added depth.”
Easier said than done.
To switch back and forth like that, Moton said, a tackle has to not just have the plays of his own offense down, but every scheme of the opposing defense. Moton switched between guard and tackle in college, but only on the right side. He only played left tackle every so often in practice, and maybe a snap or two at Western Michigan.
“Just a couple plays in a game,” said Moton, although he did add that he was a left tackle when he played in high school.
“It wasn’t natural at all. It was something I’ve had to work on,” he said. “That same day (Rivera told me), I started working on left tackle sets, just to be as comfortable as I can when I got here.”
Moton said he’s not only trying to get plays and opposing schemes down, but also the footwork, stance-flipping and muscle memory.
“It’s different. It is very different. But I’ve probably studied more for this than I ever have for my MBA,” he joked.