The first thing to know about Thad Moss is that, like so many other draft-eligible players in 2020, his dad played in the NFL. Moss gets separation from the rest of the “Juniors” in the fact that his dad also has a gold jacket, being Randy Moss, who was the 21st overall pick of the Vikings in 1998.
Family lineage and the halo effect that comes from playing with Joe Burrow at LSU make it easy to overhype expectations for Moss as a dynamic pass-catcher, but tape study shows he’s actually more skilled as a run blocker. Moss has shown great hands and good body control in limited on-field work, but he’s not an elite game-changer; rather, Thad Moss is an average athlete who benefited from rub routes and off coverage to find plenty of open-window catches at LSU.
He will get after it as a run blocker — something that will be a genuinely welcome sight to Redskins fans — using above-average technique and an impressive ability to contact and sustain against bigger opponents.
With route running, he could struggle to uncover against tight man, but his hybrid TE/H-back versatility and run-blocking prowess could lock him into a roster spot despite his status as an undrafted free agent, especially given what we’re being told to expect from the Scott Turner offense.
With the departures of Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis, the Redskins are looking to re-make the tight end position. Right now, the depth chart at tight end looks like the patchwork quilts my grandma used to make from leftover bits of fabric. No single piece looks all that nice, but she was able to sew them together to make a pretty pattern and something that could keep me warm at night. Hopefully, Scott Turner and the rest of the Redskins coaching staff are as skilled as my grandma was, and can find a way to blend this sure-handed and skilled blocking tight end with average athleticism into part of a whole cloth made from a motley group of tight ends and seamlessly blend that group into a multiple-weapon offense that will be greater than the sum of its parts.
In this section, we’ll offer a look some film, with a brief look at style, skills and limitations written by Joshua Frye, who has volunteered to help me with this series.
As a Skins fan, Joshua says that he grew up with a team that wasn’t winning on the field, and that this lack of success made him look for something other than Superbowls to keep him connected. He focused on the draft. So, even from a young age, Josh watched college football, doing his best to evaluate players, and he read extensively — books written by coaches and personnel evaluators. Josh says that he would love to become a professional scout someday.
Let’s see what Joshua thinks about Thaddeus Moss
Here Thad is lined up on the right side behind the tackle against Oklahoma. He does a nice job in Pass pro at guiding that edge rush upfield pass Burrow.
Here we see him again against Oklahoma in the playoffs lined up in the same spot and doing a good job at blocking, but this time in the run game. He reaches the 2nd level and delivers a nice blow to the LB to cause a stalemate and allow a gain of around 6 yards.
This play is against Auburn. Here Thad is lined up on the right side again, and LSU needs a yard. Thad does a nice job working his way up to the next level and setting his feet to open a hole for his RB. He delivers a good first punch on the safety’s shoulder and chest that helped his RB pick up an extra 3 to 4 yards.
Thaddeus Moss doesn’t fear contact; I feel like a highlight tape could be made from his blocking. But nice to see he is willing to chip and help out the Redskins newest LT Saahdiq Charles here!
So now the question is: what does he do in the passing game? I mean, after all, most teams pass the ball more than they run it, and a TE with reliable hands does help a young developing QB. I’m gonna be honest. Going from Jordan Reed to Thaddeus Moss isn’t likely to be a great experience for Redskins fans.
He seemed to run a lot of underneath routes when watching him. And he never really creates much separation with what appears to be MAYBE above average speed. But he’s got strong hands. Here you see him chip and release on his route. The hesitation and Thad’s initial burst is enough to create a separation. If the ref isn’t in the way this is easily a first down.
Here Thad is lined up outside the numbers in the red zone. Something we could expect from him with us since he is a big body with reliable hands. What I like here is that he sees everyone backpedaling right away and does a nice job working his way up field on his route without dead sprinting and having that linebacker or safety break it up. He then absorbs the contact and works for the first even though he comes up short.
How will he fit with the Redskins?
Just like most Skins fans I can see Thaddeus Moss making the team. He’s young, he’s a willing blocker, and has reliable hands, which is supported by his “no drops” and 85% catch rate this past season. But also he only had 55 targets, he’s not very eye popping in the passing game, and he wasn’t a threat vertically at all at LSU. Moss will need a year to round himself out and become more of a legitimate threat in the passing game. I think he’ll be our 3rd tight end.
As UDFA’s go, rate Thaddeus Moss
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How good are the chances that Thad Moss is on the roster in 2020?
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