When LSU tight end Thaddeus Moss went undrafted in the 2020 NFL Draft, I was in disbelief. I know about the Jones Fracture that was uncovered at the combine that required surgery and the timeline to recover from that, but I still assumed he’d be selected in the mid rounds of the draft.
Then this little nugget came out - and things started to make some sense...
Thaddeus Moss’ physical at the combine revealed a Jones fracture in his right root that required surgery. Inability to visit teams for follow-up exams hurt him. Talent there for new Washington OC Scott Turner to unlock. https://t.co/V0HWl64lto— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 25, 2020
Being that this was a recent surgery, team’s had little way of knowing how his rehabilitation was tracking, and were unable to have their medical staff evaluate Moss in person. I remember Gil Brandt and Mark Dominik bringing this up on their pre-draft conference call this year, and both said these types of issues(not only regarding Moss) could come into play and cause many more deserving prospects to not get drafted versus previous years. This is exactly what I believed happened to Thaddeus.
Now, many may point to a guy like Tua Tagovailoa, but his situation was very different. His surgery happened during the season, and he was able to actually get in front of teams at the combine. Despite not being able to go through comprehensive medical re-checks with teams prior to the draft, he and his agent did post videos of him working out with no restrictions, and his virtual Pro-Day was outstanding. Thaddeus Moss’ situation did not allow for these provisions.
Regardless, Moss still went undrafted and he ultimately ended up with the Redskins. So this is where his story begins.
First, let’s take a look at offensive coordinator Scott Turner’s offense.
During his introductory press conference, Turner had this to say about his offensive scheme:
“It is still the same system, but we have versatility within our system where we’re going to really fit and play to our player’s strengths.”
Let’s focus on the above statement for a minute...
This was very evident in Carolina when Turner took over as offensive coordinator. When NFL expert Josh Norris made a guest appearance on the The Redskins Talk podcast in late January to discuss Turner’s philosophies as an offensive coordinator, he spoke of how Panthers wide receiver Curtis Samuel’s role drastically changed under Turner.
Despite the fact we’ve yet to see how Turner’s new offense in Washington will look, it’s fair to assume he’s not trying to force any square pegs into round holes. We also know he values VERSATILITY.
So how can new tight end Thaddeus Moss fit into Turner’s offense?
First, let’s go back to that key word we have talked about - versatility.
It was my opinion that Moss was the most complete tight end in this relatively weak tight end class. Let’s look at some of the reasons for my belief.
Moss was the best blocking tight end in this class - hands down!
This is a Thaddeus Moss fan account (when you run as much 11 personnel as LSU does with a stud blocker like Moss attached to the formation >>). pic.twitter.com/uqJ7B1ObU9— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) January 9, 2020
First few plays watching LSU TE Thaddeus Moss and this rep stood out. Very physical chip to help the LT. pic.twitter.com/OyKtjOSaaL— Mark Bullock (@MarkBullockNFL) April 11, 2020
Thaddeus has what I consider to be the best hands in the draft - not only from the tight end position, but maybe even among ALL pass catchers. Facts are, he catches almost everything thrown in his zip code.
The next generation of Moss has arrived ✊— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) April 25, 2020
The Redskins have signed LSU's Thaddeus Moss as an undrafted free agent pic.twitter.com/HnBCoEnzty
Here you see Moss lined up as a flexed tight end at the top of the clip.
#Patriots Draft Target: TE, LSU: Thaddeus Moss 6’3, 240 lbs— Ryan Spagnoli (@Ryan_Spags) February 7, 2020
Dream for fans as the son Randy Moss. One of the driving forces to LSU’s dominance this season that is a true bully as a blocker for his size & can provide some spark in the receiving game. pic.twitter.com/BlVL90feaZ
Below you see Moss line up in a tight formation in a “hip” position - more reminiscent of an H-back.
Another one.— ESPN (@espn) January 14, 2020
Thaddeus Moss scored TD No. 2 … and @randymoss was all about it pic.twitter.com/NTvQbYCSwK
So how can Scott Turner used Thaddeus Moss?
First, Moss can be used as a traditional in-line or move TE in 11 personnel(1 RB, 1 TE). You don’t ever need to worry about the offensive tipping their hand when he’s on the field. He can act as a sixth linemen in the run game, and can get vertical, or find the soft spot in the zone on passing plays. He can be an incredible security blanket for second year quarterback Dwayne Haskins.
Second, he can be used as part of a two-headed monster in 12 personnel(1 RB, 2 TE’s). With one tight end in-line, one in-line of flexed to the opposite side and two outside receivers, the defense will have to play this formation honest.
Finally, and this is where I see his niche, is as a true H-back in 20 or 21 personnel. He can operate out of the backfield as an off-set fullback who can be a lead blocker on iso, as a hip player who can seal the edge on a toss or be kept in for max protection, or be sent in motion to create mismatches for opposing defenses in the passing game. Because of his versatility in an H-back roll, if opposing defenses simply try to stack the box against the run, Turner should be able to create a lot of mismatches in the passing game.
The reasons listed above are why I was so high on Moss as a prospect, and why I was thrilled when we signed him as an undrafted free agent after the draft. I believe, as things currently stand, he’s the best tight end on our football team.
I think Moss is an excellent fit in this offense, and I can’t wait to see how Scott Turner uses him this season!