Could Thaddeus Moss Be the Most Intriguing Redskins Rookie?
The most intriguing player in this year's Redskins' rookie class may not have even been a draft pick. Former LSU tight end Thaddeus Moss went undrafted, but signed as a free agent with the Washington Redskins soon after the 2020 NFL Draft concluded. Moss was a standout tight end at LSU, and was one of Heisman Trophy winner, Joe Burrow's most reliable targets on LSU's undefeated National Championship team this past season. Thaddeus Moss showed the ability to catch the football consistently, and a willingness to block in space and at the point of contact. His combination of physicality, and finesse is an indication he may have the necessary attributes to be a versatile tight end at the NFL level.
The Redskins have no clear-cut starter at tight end so that could open the door for Moss to make a case. With Jordan Reed being released, and Vernon Davis retiring, the Redskins are in need for someone to step up and fill a huge void. Former Redskin Jordan Reed was a primary option for the Redskins for 6 years, and they missed him badly last season, especially on third downs. Moss excelled on third downs while at LSU, and that could possibly be his niche if he is to make the team. Moss will also need to be a special teams specialist and show he can help in multiple ways on the field, which is nothing new for players who are unproven.
Going into the draft, there were a lot of questions about Moss' health. He had foot surgery in February after a fracture was discovered during his physical at the NFL combine. This seemingly deterred teams from drafting him because of his uncertain recovery time, and the fact it was a recurring injury from 2018. Many experts and prognosticators had Moss rated as high as a third round talent on some big boards. Thaddeus Moss' father, NFL Hall of Fame receiver Randy Moss, was always known for speed and playmaking. Thaddeus Moss is the complete opposite at this point in his career. Moss is 6'3 250 pounds, and runs a 4.69 40 yard dash, while his father was 6'5 210, and ran a 4.29; two different body types with two completely different styles of play. Randy Moss would run past you or catch over you. Thaddeus Moss will run through you, or catch the football in spite of you by using his body in tight spaces and close quarters. It's important to remember, Moss played one season at LSU, and seemed to get better as the season progressed production wise. He became an offensive weapon and began being a more complete tight end versus just being a blocker, and occasional "change of pace" receiver.
Moss will be competing with:
Jeremy Sprinkle, who has played all 16 games for the Redskins the last two season and been very reliable as a blocker and in short yardage pass circumstances;
Logan Thomas, a sixth year free agent pick up from the Detroit Lions who looks to be the current favorite to start; and
2nd year tight end Hale Hentges who received playing time later last season, and showed flashes of potential.
There are other tight ends on the Redskins current roster, but these look to be the three that will most likely have an inside track on Moss. He needs to show up to camp bigger, faster, and stronger, and exhibit he has been working to improve, but beyond that, he must be healthy. As an undrafted free agent, you can't afford to miss camp practice because every snap counts.
One of the interesting things about Moss signing with the Redskins was he had the opportunity to sign with the New England Patriots, but stuck with the Redskins. It wasn't because of the Redskins rich history and three Super Bowl Championships. It wasn't because he liked the color of the Redskins' jerseys. It was simply because the Redskins called him first. Moss will be a very interesting player to watch heading into camp and could catch the eye of the coaches if he is healthy. He could end up being the Redskins' steal of the 2020 class. Not only does he have a tremendous upside, but he also is competing in a position group that is wide open for the taking if he emerges. He could also end up just being "another camp body" if he doesn't grasp the playbook, and show a willingness to play special teams. From what we already know about Moss, that will most likely not be the case, and the Redskins should look to see the best version of him they have seen when camp rolls around. After not addressing the tight end position in the draft, or signing a notable one in free agency, Moss's emergence could really help the offense going forward. The team could add another tight end prior to camp, but even if things stay the way they are, this position battle will be highly competitive, and one to watch. As you were…
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