The New England Patriots need some help at tight end, and they could add a familiar name in the 2020 NFL Draft. LSU tight end Thaddeus Moss, son of Randy Moss, is one of the better tight ends in the upcoming class and could be an immediate contributor for New England. In a relatively weak tight end class, Moss could develop into a solid mid-round contributor.
New England Patriots NFL Draft Targets: Thaddeus Moss
Thaddeus Moss definitely has a high profile thanks to his father and the fact that he spent 2019 catching passes from Joe Burrow at LSU. He’s not as good as his father, and it could be easy to overhype him based on what he isn’t. However, when looking past the pedigree, there still is a good, NFL-caliber player in Moss.
At 6’-3” and 249 pounds, Moss is one of the best run-blocking tight ends in the entire class. The Patriots lost Rob Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen last year and never found adequate replacements. Matt LaCosse struggled to stay healthy, Ryan Izzo played like a seventh-round draft pick, and Ben Watson could only do so much as a 38-year old tight end.
Moss is at his best in the run game, but he’s capable of making an impact as a pass catcher too. Blessed with phenomenal hands, Moss didn’t drop a single pass during his final year at LSU. Additionally, the tight end has an advanced knowledge of how to get open against certain coverages and possesses above-average awareness on the sideline. He’s a good route runner (by tight end standards) and could develop into a genuine threat in the passing game.
Thaddeus Moss is a jack of all trades, but a master of none. He’s an above-average run blocker, but he’s not as dominant as peak Rob Gronkowski. Additionally, run blocking isn’t that valuable of a skill in today’s pass-happy NFL. Moss can make an impact in the passing game, but he’s never going to be the center of a passing attack. Basically, he’s more of a complementary tight end in the mold of Daniel Graham or Ben Watson.
Additionally, Moss didn’t get his dad’s freakish athleticism. The NFL Combine is still a few weeks away, but Moss will probably test in the middle of the pack. Being an elite athlete doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll become an elite football player, and Moss definitely has the minimum athleticism required to survive in the NFL. However, his pedestrian athleticism does limit his overall ceiling.
Even if Moss was a perfect athlete, history suggests he wouldn’t be able to make an impact right out of the gate. Outside of quarterback, no college to NFL transition is harder than that of the tight end. Someone like Moss would need to add muscle to deal with blocking superior athletes while also adding speed to overcome the NFL’s faster linebackers.
How Thaddeus Moss Fits the Patriots
Thaddeus Moss is a perfect mid-round prospect for New England. The LSU product can provide an immediate impact as a run blocker while also contributing as a depth option in the passing game. He catches anything that hits him in the hands and has impressive body control along the boundary. New England probably needs to rebuild their tight end depth chart from the ground up, and Moss can be a key piece of the future.
However, the Patriots should look to add more than Moss heading into 2020. As mentioned last year, just about every tight end in the league needs at least one year before they’re ready to make a notable impact in the NFL. Moss should follow this trend, as there isn’t much to suggest he’s the exception to the rule. Even if New England can’t afford guys like Hunter Henry and Austin Hooper, they should still pursue someone like Tyler Eifert to complement Moss.
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