PFF goes down conventional route for Carolina Panthers' most underrated player

This came as no real surprise.
Taylor Moton
Taylor Moton / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Not many on the Carolina Panthers could be classed as underrated following one of the worst seasons in franchise history. That could change this time next year if Dave Canales' appointment and the vast offseason changes have their desired effect, but one couldn't adopt anything other than cautious optimism to any progression in 2024.

The Panthers have a lot of hard work ahead, but confidence is relatively high within the building thanks in no small part to Canales' unrivaled positivity. Nobody is getting too carried away and this was always going to be a step-by-step process. First on the agenda is emerging from rock bottom. After that, the Panthers can restore a sense of pride and potentially enter the playoff picture in the coming years.

Taylor Moton named Carolina Panthers most underrated player

Looking at Carolina's players who don't get the recognition they deserve, one name came up more than any other in recent years. Zoltán Buday from Pro Football Focus went down the conventional route in the site's annual list of most underrated stars on every team, picking stud right tackle Taylor Moton once again.

"Admittedly, there were not many bright spots on the 2023 Carolina Panthers. However, overlooking the entire roster makes [Taylor] Moton, who once again performed at a high level, quite underrated. In fact, from Week 10 on, Moton was the fifth-highest-graded offensive tackle in the NFL. He also earned the highest pass-blocking grade among all right tackles during that span."

While the offensive line in front of quarterback Bryce Young crumbled in 2023, the former second-round pick out of Western Michigan remained a model of consistency. Moton was an iron man presence on the edge, turning out for 1,149 offensive snaps, giving up just one sack and conceding four penalties. If others on Carolina's protection had been even half as good, things might have turned out differently.

Moton might be underrated to those on the outside, but his importance in the building remains strong. His quiet leadership is held in the highest respect by those within the locker room. He's also comfortably the team's highest-paid player currently, counting a whopping $29.74 million against the salary cap in 2024.

This is in the higher echelons when it comes to offensive tackle salaries around the league. But few would argue Moton isn't more than deserving based on his consistency since entering the NFL and how integral he is to any success that comes Carolina's way next season.

If Moton keeps this momentum up, one couldn't dismiss the possibility of another new contract coming his way in 2025, when he'll have one year remaining on his current deal. He'll turn 30 years old during the upcoming campaign, but this would be a shrewd investment by the new-look front office considering all the questions elsewhere.

Hopefully, Moton can continue to perform well and those around him raise their levels. The additions of Robert Hunt and Damien Lewis should assist greatly, but there are grave concerns surrounding left tackle Ikem Ekwonu after a disastrous sophomore campaign.

Moton will do his part. But it will count for nothing if others on the offensive line don't follow his lead.