After a strong college playoff performance versus Clemson and Oklahoma, Thaddeus Moss decides to shake up the tight end class as he declares for the 2020 NFL Draft.
There is no doubt about the fact that the Chicago Bears are in dire need of a consistent tight end presence. The team struggled with injuries in 2019 and Trey Burton might not be the guy. It makes sense for the team to cut ties with Adam Shaheen and find a replacement who can not only step in and play right away but also make an immediate impact.
In fact, I would not be shocked if a rookie tight end were to be able to outperform Burton and find his way into the starting role early in the season. The 2020 draft class has some decent tight end prospects, but another name was recently added to the group that I was honestly not expecting. Thaddeus Moss declared for the NFL Draft on Friday and he might be my new favorite tight end target for the Chicago Bears.
Moss is the son of ex-NFL great Randy Moss. The younger Moss does not play like his father, but you can tell he has some of the same skills. Thaddeus Moss only played two years of college football. He played his freshman season in 2016 at North Carolina State.
Moss barely played his freshman season. He transferred to LSU after his 2016 freshman season. However, due to transfer rules in the NCAA and a foot injury that cost him his 2018 season, he did not play until this past season. Moss put up some solid stats as a junior. He caught 47 balls for 570 yards and four touchdowns.
While watching tape, I think my favorite thing about Moss is his hands. Shocker I know since he is related to Randy Moss. However, one thing I did not like to see from fellow tight end prospect Cole Kmet was how often he caught the ball by cradling it into his chest. Moss does not do that as often. Most of his balls are caught with soft hands away from his body and then pulled in.
Moss is also a solid blocker compared to many of the other tight ends who have declared. He brings both a blocking presence that allows him to play in-line and is good enough as a receiver to play out of the slot. Outside of Kmet, he is probably the most rounded prospect available at tight end. Guys like Hunter Bryant and Brycen Hopkins lack the blocking ability to play in-line often in the NFL.
Experience is probably Moss’ biggest weakness. He barely played at North Carolina State in his freshman season. Due to the transfer rules within the NCAA and a foot injury, he was unable to play again until this past season with LSU.
Another glaring issue was his lack of scoring production on a team with Joe Burrow throwing a record-setting 60 touchdowns. Moss caught four touchdowns and three of them came in the last two games of the year. That said, they were the two biggest games of the season and Moss proved he can play on the big stage.
Fit with Chicago Bears
Thaddeus Moss would be an instant contributor on this team. He would step in and replace Adam Shaheen. He would compete for playing time with undrafted free agent Jesper Horsted and waiver wire addition J.P. Holtz.
Moss would be the ideal fit in Matt Nagy’s system too. Like Cole Kmet, Moss reminds me of a Travis Kelce or Zach Ertz type of tight end versus an Evan Engram type who is more like just another wide receiver.
Moss is young and inexperienced. He will need to expand on his blocking assignments and routes, but his route tree is actually the perfect fit for what Matt Nagy likes to do with the tight end position. Moss is someone I can see competing for starting time early in the season. His playing time would be determined by how quickly he picks up the offense and how much time he spends practicing and studying during the offseason and his free time.
With Moss being somewhat of a shocking addition to the 2020 NFL Draft, I am not sure which round he will be drafted from in April. I feel like he is more like a third or fourth-round tight end, but with the Chicago Bears not having a third-round pick and their fourth-rounder coming so late, they might need to take him in the second.
If Moss had more experience and game film, I would feel more comfortable with him going in the second round. However, the film that I was able to see was enough for me to take the risk depending on who else is available. He has the highlight catches that make you go wow and would fit in very well with Nagy’s scheme. Pace shocked the world taking Shaheen in the second. I’d be less shocked if he took Moss in the second this Draft.