Road to the Pros: Why LSU Tight End Thaddeus Moss Can Affect the Run and Passing Attack for NFL Offenses
The 2019 season was like a dream for LSU junior tight end Thaddeus Moss, mainly because it was just a win to be able to take the field.
Moss transferred to LSU from North Carolina State in 2017 and had to sit out that season due to transfer rules. The next year, 2018, a foot fracture Moss sustained prior to training camp held him out for the whole season.
All of the sudden, two years in Baton Rouge had flown by and Moss hadn't even suited up for a game as a member of the purple and gold. As a result, after tight end Foster Moreau was drafted in the third round of the 2019 draft, not much was known about who would take over for the senior leader.
There was a belief that Moss would be the next man up but after a full year of a nagging leg injury, the lingering question was could Moss stay healthy. Moss entered the fall with a two year chip on his shoulder and would beat out senior Stephen Sullivan for the starting job.
What transpired next can only be described as the best statistical season by a tight end in LSU history. Moss set program records in yards (570) and catches (47) as well as four touchdowns and only seemed to get better as the LSU offense evolved.
Arguably his two best performances of the season were the two most important as Moss hauled in nine receptions for 135 yards and three touchdowns in wins over Oklahoma and Clemson in the College Football Playoff.
As a prospect, Moss displayed a variety of skills that will be useful for NFL teams, most notably his willingness to get dirty in the run block game. Having a tight end that can block at the line of scrimmage and make plays through the air is a useful blend of skills.
His hands and body control are a part of his game that really sticks out, exemplified best when he brought in one of the more ridiculous catches of the entire college football season against Alabama.
At 6-foot-2, 250 pounds, Moss has size but isn't necessarily the best athlete from a speed and agility standpoint, which could make it difficult for him to create separation at the next level. One issue that recently popped up was that Moss suffered a slight fracture in his foot that forced him to miss the NFL combine drills.
With the addition of no pro day, Moss' stock may have taken a hit, though he was viewed as a day three selection by most analysts anyway.
Most Intriguing Destination: Cincinnati Bengals
If the Bengals do what most expect them to do and draft LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, why not reunite the former Tigers' teammates later in the draft by selecting Moss. In a media session after Burrow won the Heisman, Moss admitted that Burrow, Moss and Edwards-Helaire were all really close friends.
"I almost teared up, I was just so happy for him," Moss told the media. "Me, Joe and Clyde, we're really close, I mean that's the main group."
The Bengals decided not to retain long time tight end Tyler Eifert, who has been plagued by injuries since entering the NFL in 2013. Drafting Moss would help alleviate some of the depth issues at the position and also give Burrow a friendly face in the locker room.
Writer’s Note: With the NFL Draft a month from now, concerns surrounding COVID-19 will likely force the league to make some tough decisions in the coming weeks. For Moss and the other LSU draft prospects, the early rounds in Las Vegas were primed to be dominated by Tigers. Stay tuned for updates as the situation develops.