Okemos Graduate Taylor Moton Drafted by Carolina Panthers in Second Round
Photo: Brian Spurlock / USA TODAY Sports
OKEMOS - Okemos graduate and Western Michigan offensive lineman Taylor Moton was selected to the Carolina Panthers in the second round, as the 64th overall pick.
His mother, Sonya Gunnings-Moton said the Panthers flew Moton to North Caroline this morning, on Saturday, April 29.
Moton was the second player from Western Michigan drafted to the NFL in 2017.
His teammate, Broncos quarterback Corey Davis was the fifth overall pick in the first round, selected by the Tennessee Titans.
OKEMOS - It has been decades since a player from the Lansing area has been drafted into the NFL. This week, Okemos graduate Taylor Moton may break that trend.
In 2012 Moton was named First-Team All American Pick as a senior at Okemos High School.
With his grandfather, Thomas Gunnings, whom he was very close with, having worked for Michigan State University, and his mother, Sonya Gunnings-Moton, being an Assistant Dean in the College of Education for the Spartans, Moton grew up wanting to be a Spartan.
After not receiving an offer to be a Spartan, Moton decided on Western Michigan over the Big Ten's Indiana.
At 6'5" and 319 pounds, Moton went on to become one of the top offensive lineman players for Western Michigan University.
Moton currently holds the record for most starts at Western Michigan, with 52. He started every game of his college career after a redshirt season in 2012.
In 2016, he helped lead Western Michigan to an undefeated regular season and a MAC Championship.
After moving to Florida in January to train for the NFL Combine (February 28 to March 6), in which he was a top performer in the vertical jump - with 30.5 inches - and in the 20-yard shuttle - with 4.58 seconds.
"It was hectic, there was a lot going on. I was busy almost that whole day, I didn’t get much time to myself. I’d have drug test, to meeting with all the clubs, to one day it was the bench test, media day, talk to media left and right, taking the sight test. It was keeping us very busy I gotta say," he said. "Meeting with the teams, you had to always be on point, because they would always test your knowledge of football pretty much, how well you can retain knowledge, so they’d talk to you about their offense, ask a few questions about yourself, then they’d go back and ask you to recite what you just learned. Doing that 10 times a night, you gotta make sure you’re on point with that. But overall I think it was a really good experience and I think I helped myself out there, and I made a lot of good friends.”
As to what helped him stay focused and work to improve, Moton said his teammates and now-former Western Michigan University football head coach PJ Fleck were the ones whose words he remembered.
"I guess the whole row the boat thing, taking that with me through that process has helped a lot," Moton said.
Since the end of the NFL Combine, Moton said he has continued to workout to stay in shape, so that he can be the best version of himself when he heads off to camp after the draft.
Moton has attended workouts with multiple teams and has also visited the Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens.
After the entire preparation process, the 2017 NFL Draft quickly approaches.
It will take place from April 27 to April 29 in Philadelphia.
"I'm excited to see where I may end up and when I'll get picked up. I'm a lot more calm than my mom," Moton said.
The first round will be on Thursday, Apirl 27, followed by the second and third rounds on Friday, April 28, and the fourth through seven rounds on Saturday, April 29.
Moton said his agent told him he is predicted to be drafted to the NFL during the second or third round, possibly early in the fourth round.
Moton has strived to be a football player for his grandfather, Thomas Gunnings, who passed away when Moton was 16.
When asked what he would like to say to Gunnings, Moton said he hopes he is making him proud and that he misses and loves him.