Mid-Round Spotlight: Thaddeus Moss, TE, LSU

Sam Penix
Sam is a massive Cleveland sports fan who has covered the city's agony since 2016. He is fond of the Cavaliers and Indians, but his true passion is for the Browns and the NFL Draft.

The son of Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss, Thaddeus Moss is fresh off a National Championship victory as he prepares for the 2020 NFL Draft. The 21-year-old is not his father, but he’s a solid prospect in his own right.

Despite his heritage, Moss was not considered a top draft prospect during his junior year. In fact, he wasn’t talked about much at all. That is, until he caught five passes for 36 yards and two touchdowns against Clemson in the National Championship Game. Shortly after that performance, Moss declared for the Draft, despite having one season of college eligibility remaining.

Thaddeus Moss began his collegiate career at North Carolina State, where he caught six passes for 49 yards and a score as a freshman. He transferred to LSU the following summer, missing the 2017 season due to NCAA transfer rules. He also missed all of 2018 due to a foot injury.

In 2019, he finished with 47 grabs for 570 yards and four TDs. Modest numbers, but not bad at all when you consider Moss was practically an afterthought in the LSU offense, with the precesnce of Ja’Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson, Terrace Marshall Jr., and Clyde Edwards-Helaire.¬†

Thaddeus Moss: Positives

Physicality

Thaddeus Moss is not afraid of contact in the slightest. Whether he’s on the line blocking or has the ball in his hands, Moss embraces physicality. He’s not soft at all, something that is vitally important for a tight end.

Blocking

Moss is a very good blocker. He has sound technique, both with his hand placement and footwork. He plays to the whistle and wants to drive his man out of the play and to the ground. Moss can block well out of a normal TE alignment, or as an H-back out of the backfield.

Hands

He didn’t get a ton of chances to make plays in the passing game, but when he did, Moss proved he was a dependable target for Joe Burrow. His dad was known for making the spectacular catch, and while the younger Moss isn’t nearly as flashy, he is certainly capable of making a ‘wow’ play every now and then. Moss has shown strong hands, even with defenders draped on him.

Thaddeus Moss: Negatives

Size

At 6’3″ 249lbs, Thaddeus Moss possesses a solid frame, but he lacks the height of an elite red zone threat. His shorter stature does help him with leverage when he’s blocking, but it’s not like taller players aren’t able to gain leverage themselves.¬†

Speed/Athleticism

Randy Moss was an athletic freak, but Thaddeus wasn’t fortunate enough to inherit all of those genes. He lacks fluidity and quickness, both getting out of his stance in blocking, and when trying to create separation. He likely won’t run all too well at the NFL Combine, certainly nowhere near his dad’s 4.25 mark.

Route Running

While Moss’s footwork when blocking is good, that isn’t the case when he’s running routes. His steps are slow, but beyond that, he takes many more steps than are required, allowing defenders to get into his body, slowing him down even more. Moss lacks burst and acceleration, which just compounds the problem.

YAC

When he does get the ball in his hands, Moss’s lack of athleticism continues to hurt him. He is not a threat after the catch, and should not be used as a screen target at all.

Thaddeus Moss won’t live up to his last name from an athletic perspective, and will not be a premier receiving threat in the NFL. But good blocking tight ends are always in demand, and Moss is certainly one of those. He has enough receiving talent to be a TE2 at the next level, and with more and more teams beginning to use multiple TE sets more often, Moss should be able to find a home before the end of the fourth round. If he puts together a surprise Combine performance, he might be able to sneak into the back half of round three.

Related –¬†Mid-Round Spotlight: Antoine Winfield Jr.

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