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Thaddeus Moss: it’s not just his last name; he’s a talented tight end that Washington can rely on in 2021

College Football Playoff National Championship - Clemson v LSU Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

What draft analysts were saying about Thaddeus Moss a year ago

Thaddeus Moss projects as a traditional in-line tight end prospect who will have an opportunity to earn a starting role at the NFL level. The son of legendary receiver Randy Moss, Thaddeus is currently a more effective blocker and wins on the ground game and in pass pro thanks to a dense frame and powerful punches. Not the most explosive athlete, it is difficult to envision a dynamic role in the passing game — but Moss can win against underneath zones and help move the sticks.

- The Draft Network, 18 January 2020

If you are looking for a blocking tight end then Moss should be atop the list for your NFL team. Not just a chip guy before getting into his route, Moss can take on defenders one on one in passing sets. As a run blocker, he brings physicality and animosity. Great blocker on the edge, running backs will love running behind Moss.

Some of the best hands in the class, he is as sure handed as they come. Get the ball near his frame and Moss likely comes down with the ball. Rarely will he require double-catches to bring the ball in. When dealing with smaller defenders, will box them out with his wide frame to seal off defenders to prevent passes defended.

His footwork is a huge plus in his game. Keeps good balance and rarely stumbles in his blocking. Moss uses his lower half to really drive into his blocks. An absolute bully at the point of attack. Likely will see plenty of playing time because of his blocking ability over his ability in the passing game.

Projection: 3rd-4th round

- Draft Wire, 5 March 2020

Catch 9.5/10

Moss has the hands that will attract teams. For a big man, he plays long enough to pull in the catch in any situation. As a receiver, he is always aware of the location of the ball.

Routes 8.5/10
College routes were simple, and he stuck to them like glue. No improvisation even when the situation called for it. That actually a plus.

When Contested 10/10
He wins the battles, and for a tight end has an excellent ability to adjust to bad throws. He does not need to be hit in the hands, just needs the ball in his catch-radius and he will go and get it. This is the trait that will attract teams at the next level. He could definitely be a “chain-mover” in the NFL.

RAC 5/10
Not breaking away from anyone but unlikely to be used as such.

Release 7/10
As previously stated, Moss is not going to beat anyone off the line for big plays. However, he has a punch at the line on close coverage that is undeniable; he won’t run past coverage but physically he can easily out-muscle a linebacker or safety with no issue.

Blocking at the LOS 9/10
Nasty at the point of attack. Will beat most blitzers and can hold his own against defensive linemen when called upon. Moss’s strength in blocking is unquestionable.

Blocking in the field 7.5/10
Can beat anyone in the second level but is a tad sluggish getting to that point.

Toughness 10/10
Not unlike his father, Moss often plays with a chip on his shoulder and will take on any assignment.

Overall Athleticism 8/10
You can’t teach speed. Aside from that, he is as athletic as you could want in a draft and displayed those skills time and again at LSU. In theory, he is physically gifted enough to play multiple positions on both sides of the ball.

Overall 79.5/100
Moss gets the benefit of being a piece of moldable clay; he hasn’t got many bad habits and the upside here is huge. Without advancement in the passing game, however, he will be a middling tight end in the NFL. He’s certainly not the most league-ready at his position but he probably has the highest upside if a coach can tap into it.

- The Scorecrow, 22 April 2020

Thaddeus Moss projects as back-up tight end for most teams, but could be a number two — and second starting — tight end for a team that uses a scheme based on 12-personnel packages.

Moss’ greatest value will likely be for teams that feature run-heavy or vertical offenses. He is a very good blocker in both the running and passing game, and a capable-enough receiver to bring value as a check-down option. Moss’ lack of athleticism will prevent him from being a true mis-match, and that will hurt his value in the eyes of many offenses. However, his blocking ability absolutely has a place in the modern NFL. If he can become adept at finding voids in coverage, Moss’ hands and body control should allow him to become a reliable chain-mover in the passing game.

- Big Blue View, 30 March, 2020

Thaddeus Moss gives Washington depth and flexibility at TE in 2021

I think that because Thaddeus Moss went undrafted in 2020 and didn’t play for the Football Team in the regular season, he’s written off by many fans as a bottom-of-the-roster no-hoper a the tight end position. He’s an afterthought...a JAG at best. Certainly, he’s not a player to count on when looking at the TE depth chart.

I’m here to suggest that Moss’ presence on the roster is probably a huge part of the reason that the front office didn’t sign any tight ends in free agency, and that having him on the roster mitigates the level of “need” for a tight end as Washington heads into the draft in late April.

I have reasons for that opinion.

Moss has skills

He blocks
Look through the pre-draft profiles above and you’ll see some consistent evaluations. Moss is a talented blocker, both in the running game and the passing game. One analyst described those skills as “unquestionable” and said he can win against linebackers or safeties “without issue”. Another said he can take on defenders one on one in passing sets and used the words “physicality and animosity” to describe his run blocking.

Remember watching Jordan Reed block? Even Vernon Davis, for all his size and physicality, wasn’t a reliable blocker.

Now think of the opposite and imagine what that means for the Washington run game and pass protection. Yeah, it makes me feel warm and fuzzy too.

He caches...everything apparently
Profile after profile on Thaddeus Moss talk about two things in addition to his blocking — he isn’t fast, but he has a huge catch radius and he doesn’t drop passes. He was described as having — not just good hands — but the “best hands in the class” a year ago when he was coming out of college. When I read that he’s “as sure handed as they come”, the comparisons to Jordan Reed suddenly become very similar and very favorable.

Tight ends like Jason Witten have proven year after year that speed isn’t an essential for a tight end who can block and catch. Moss will get opportunities — especially with the number of other offensive weapons the WFT will be fielding in 2020.

He plays tough and he’s got lots of upside potential
Again, the consistency in descriptions gives me confidence here. He’s “an absolute bully at the point of attack” who “plays with a chip on his shoulder and will take on any assignment”.

He’s described as “a piece of moldable clay” who “probably has the highest upside if a coach can tap into it.” That sounds great to me. After all, what has Moss been doing for the past year?

Well, he’s been re-habbing after undergoing foot surgery shortly after the 2020 Combine, and he’s been part of a pro football team where his position coach is the talented Pete Hoener.

Related article from 2020:

The truth about tight ends

A bit about Washington’s TE coach

Hoener joined the Panthers staff in 2011 when Ron Rivera was hired for his first head coaching job. He followed Rivera to Washington last season, and has been credited by the head coach with having helped spot and develop budding talent for the roster.

Hoener has a history of success, having coached Delanie Walker, Vernon Davis and Greg Olsen. In other words, Hoener has seen elite tight ends and knows how to help them develop their skills. Any doubt about the coach’s prowess probably should have been erased by Logan Thomas’s breakout season in 2020, but Hoener has plenty of people willing to praise his coaching.

“He is probably the best coach I’ve ever had,” Davis told in 2009. “He knows anything you could want to know as a tight end.”

Washington’s tight end coach has been coaching for over 45 years, and he knows his trade. I trust him as the sculptor for the moldable clay that is Thaddeus Moss. I have to believe that for the past 11 months, Washington’s young tight end has been learning from his veteran coach and will be much more prepared to step up and contribute in 2021 than he was when he was drafted shortly after helping his LSU Tigers win last year’s national championship game over Clemson.

What happened in 2020?

Moss was expected to be a mid-round 2020 draft pick, with many analysts projecting him to be selected in the 4th to 6th round.

But at the NFL combine it was discovered that he had a bone fracture in his fifth metatarsal bone that required surgery. As a result of that medical issue, Moss went undrafted, and he joined the Washington Football Team for training camp.

Initially, Moss was expected to be healthy enough to play in his rookie season, but as he went through training camp, his recovery did not proceed as expected, and in late August he was waived by the team. After clearing waivers, Moss was placed on Injured Reserve, ending his rookie season.

What should we expect in 2021?

Logan Thomas returns as the incumbent starting tight end for the Washington Football Team, and my expectation is that — barring a significant draft pick that shakes up the depth chart — Thaddeus Moss should enter training camp as the presumed #2 pass catching tight end, meaning that he would back up Thomas, but would also likely see the field quite often as a blocker on running downs and as the second TE in 12-personnel (1 RB, 2 TE) sets. Given his superior blocking skill, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Moss technically “starting” most games by taking the field on the first offensive snap of the game.

Although Moss didn’t play in any regular season games last year, he has been with the Washington Football Team for almost a year.

Prior to the discovery of his broken foot at the Combine last year, he was considered the best pass-catcher in the ‘20 TE class, and was seen as a talented blocker with a nasty streak. His “weakness” was a lack of speed.

Moss won’t have gotten any faster, but after a year as a full time professional working with a top notch strength and conditioning staff and possibly the best TE coach in the league, he is likely to be stronger and more knowledgeable.

He will have the benefit of a full training camp and three preseason games ahead of the 2021 regular season, and should enter it fully healthy.

TEs currently under contract with Washington:

  • Logan Thomas
  • Thaddeus Moss
  • Temarrick Hemingway
  • Marcus Baugh
  • Dylan Cantrell
  • Tyrone Swoopes

Thaddeus Moss and his blocking skills should improve the WFT running and passing attacks; his great hands should offer QB Ryan Fitzpatrick a reliable target, and his presence on the field with Logan Thomas should be an upgrade to last year’s secondary TE option of Jeremy Sprinkle. In short, the Washington offense should have better blocking, more reliable pass catching and greater scheme flexibility as a result of having Moss on the roster.

Yes, he’s got a famous dad, but he also has his own national championship trophy and a set of skills that should serve the Football Team well.

Thaddeus Moss is a player that the Washington Football Team can rely on in 2021 and build with into the future.