Carolina Panthers

Panthers rookie tackle Taylor Moton looked up to Julius Peppers – as a 1st-grader

Carolina Panthers rookie tackle Taylor Moton, center/left, battles defensive end Brandon Williams, right, during the team's second session practice of the rookie minicamp on Friday, May 5, 2017. Looking on is head coach Ron Rivera, left.
Carolina Panthers rookie tackle Taylor Moton, center/left, battles defensive end Brandon Williams, right, during the team's second session practice of the rookie minicamp on Friday, May 5, 2017. Looking on is head coach Ron Rivera, left. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Some quick math from Carolina Panthers rookie tackle Taylor Moton before organized team activities began brought him one stunning revelation: He was going to have to face off at some point against the player he most admired way back in first grade.

Julius Peppers, Carolina’s 16-year veteran defensive end, symbolized Moton’s “welcome to the NFL” moment last month, after the tackle was drafted No. 64 overall by the Panthers and began his offseason workouts.

Moton said he matched up against Peppers briefly, and that’s when it hit him.

“One of the craziest moments was like, the first day, going against Julius Peppers,” Moton said in an interview with the Observer this week. “I was just thinking, ‘He’s been in the league since I was in first grade.’ Future first-ballot Hall of Famer, I was like, ‘Wow, I grew up a huge fan of Julius Peppers.’

“I think that’s one day when it really hit me.”

Moton went on to say he hasn’t shared that particular observation with Peppers yet, but he thinks he held his own against him.

Hear much more from Moton on this week’s “Three and Out” podcast, including what the offensive line bonding trip was like and how he is getting ready to play right tackle, right guard and left tackle for the Panthers.

Listen here, and don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes and leave a rating!

Jourdan Rodrigue: 704-358-5071, @jourdanrodrigue

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