With Oregon boasting as much individual talent as any team in college football, one certainly couldn't blame NFL scouts watching the cross-country tilt against Virginia for fixating on the Ducks' speed, power and tempo.
The fact that Oregon is so gifted, however, is precisely the reason why talent evaluators circled Saturday's contest as a good opportunity to gauge the Cavaliers.
Though the final score (59-10) certainly didn't show it, UVA's top prospect - senior offensive tackle Morgan Moses -- played well against the Ducks. In doing so, he may have answered the key questions scouts had about his projection to the next level.
At 6-6, 325-pounds, Moses is a mountain of a man who appears best suited to playing right tackle or even guard in the NFL. Moses has started the past three seasons at right tackle for the Cavaliers but took over the blindside responsibilities this year with former starter Oday Aboushi earning a fifth round selection from the New York Jets in April.
While Oregon is, of course, best known for their talent on the offensive side of the ball, these Ducks are significantly more powerful along the defensive line than in years past. Moses faced a gauntlet of pass rushers that ranged from speedy junior Tony Washington (6-3, 243) to stouter defensive linemen like Taylor Hart (6-6, 287) and Arik Armstead (6-8, 280). Regardless of the challenger, Moses held up nicely in what was just his second start at left tackle.
Moses showed good initial quickness and was smooth in his kick-step despite his inexperience dropping from the left side. He caught defenders with his long, strong arms and protected the edge nicely, giving Virginia quarterback David Watford enough time to scan the field throughout this game. His only hiccup in pass protection, in fact, ironically came when he was leaning too far left, allowing a counter-move from Washington to slip between he and left guard Luke Bowanko.
As one might expect given his bulk, Moses is a powerful drive blocker in the running game. He's also surprisingly quick to the second-level, showing enough foot-speed to latch onto linebackers. Moses' block of athletic outside linebacker Boseko Lokombo, in fact, provided the lane through which running back Khalek Shepherd scampered 45 yards for Virginia's only touchdown of the game.