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Virginia's Morgan Moses finally goes to Washington Redskins in the NFL draft

It took a night longer than most draft analysts expected, but former Virginia offensive tackle Morgan Moses finally got selected Friday in the NFL draft by the Washington Redskins in the third round.

Moses, a 6-foot-6, 313-pound Richmond native, became the 66th overall pick in the draft when the Redskins decided to bring him on board. His selection extended U.Va.'s streak to 31 consecutive drafts with at least one player taken — the second-longest such streak in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

"I feel like I have all the abilities to play at the next level," Moses said in a teleconference with Redskins beat reporters after he was selected in the draft. "I'm just going to come in there and work hard to get on the field and let everything fall in place."

He's the seventh former U.Va. offensive lineman selected in the last 10 drafts. The last time a former U.Va. offensive player went earlier in the draft was 2009, when offensive tackle Eugene Monroe was selected in the first round (eighth overall) by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Moses, who played left tackle as a senior at U.Va. but could wind up at right tackle early in his NFL career, ended up going later in the draft than anticipated. He was projected by most draft analysts to be chosen anywhere from the middle of the first round through the early second round.

He spent Thursday night and much of Friday night waiting in the draft "green room" at New York's Radio City Music Hall while 65 names were called ahead of him. When he was finally selected, ESPN television camera captured images of Moses with his head in his left hand, shielding his eyes as he talked on a cell phone.

"It was a crazy wait, but I'm blessed to have the opportunity to have my name called, walk across that stage (at Radio City Music Hall) and put that (Washington Redskins) hat on," said Moses, who graded out at 90 percent in his senior season.

Despite U.Va.'s abysmal 2-10 finish last season, Moses made statements against some of the top defensive players he faced. In U.Va.'s 59-10 loss to Clemson, Moses held defensive end Vic Beasley to one tackle. Beasley led the ACC last season with 13 sacks and was second in the conference with 22 tackles for loss.

In U.Va.'s 35-25 loss to Georgia Tech, Yellow Jackets defensive end Jeremiah Attaochu had four tackles, including two sacks, but he didn't have any tackles or sacks when matched up against Moses. Attaochu, who was second in the ACC last season with 12 sacks, was taken Friday in the second round of the draft by the San Diego Chargers.

Though he excelled in his senior season, earning second team All-ACC honors from the coaches and third team All-ACC distinction from the media, Moses displayed versatility and durability throughout his college career.

"He's a big kid," Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden said in a press conference after Moses was selected. "He's played a lot of football. He's played both the left side and the right side in his career, and he's got a major upside...A chance to get a guy with that type of length is very hard to pass up, so we're fortunate to have Morgan. We feel like he's got a bright future in pro football."

Gruden told reporters there was discussion by the Redskins about taking Moses in the second round, which was the Redskins' first pick of the draft. Instead, Washingtion elected to take former Stanford outside linebacker Trent Murphy in the second round, and gamble that Moses would be available in the third round.

He started 43 of the 49 games in which he played at U.Va. Prior to his left tackle experience as a senior, he was primarily a starting right tackle in his first three seasons, and also gained brief experience as a starting right guard.

Moses came out of Meadowbrook High in Richmond considered by most recruiting analysts one of the nation's top 10 offensive tackle prospects in the class of 2009, before heading to Fork Union Military Academy for a year to improve his academics.

Last season, Washington had sixth-year pro Tyler Polumbus starting at right tackle. Trent Williams, who made the Pro Bowl the last two seasons, was the starting left tackle. Washington, which surrendered 43 sacks last season (tied for 14th most in the league), entered the draft short on depth at both tackle spots.

"Being able to sit down with coach Gruden a couple weeks ago, and just having that talk with him, it was a great fit being alongside Pro Bowl tackle Trent Williams and being able to block for (quarterback Robert Griffin III)," Moses said. "It's a blessing to be able to have that."

Wood can be reached by phone at 757-247-4642.

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