The Carolina Panthers could use another tight end following the departure of Greg Olsen. Ian Thomas played well when given the opportunity, but Carolina could certainly use another body at the position. 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 the Panthers. In a relatively weak tight end class, Moss could develop into a solid mid-round contributor.
Carolina Panthers 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. There’s a very real chance that the Panthers will have a rookie starting in 2020, so Carolina is going to want to be a run-first team. Additionally, Christian McCaffrey is probably the most dangerous running back in the league when given space, and Moss is one of the best in his class at generating running lanes.
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 than a featured part of an offense.
Additionally, Moss didn’t get his dad’s freakish athleticism. The NFL Combine is currently underway and 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 Panthers
Thaddeus Moss is a perfect mid-round prospect for Carolina. 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. The Panthers probably need to rebuild their tight end depth chart from the ground up, and Moss can be a key piece of the future.
Ian Thomas has earned an opportunity to be the top guy on the depth chart, but he shouldn’t be the only notable tight end on the roster. 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. The Panthers should plan on letting Thomas be the star of the tight end room in 2020 before Moss and Thomas combine to form a solid duo in 2021.
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