While LSU may have tied the NFL Draft record for most selections (14) by a school, there were still six talented undrafted free agents left on the board that found their next home immediately following the conclusion of the event.
Unfortunately, for four of the six UDFA, it was widely predicted they weren’t going to hear their names called by commissioner Roger Goodell, but for tight end Thaddeus Moss and offensive lineman Adrian Magee, it was definitely a surprise when they went undrafted come Saturday afternoon.
“This isn’t an underdog story,” Moss tweeted after the draft.
Moss finished his career in Baton Rouge as arguably the most productive tight end in program history, setting records for receptions (42) and receiving yards (534), while also proving to be a skilled blocker in both running and passing situations. He also didn’t drop a single pass in 2019.
But a physical at the NFL combine revealed a Jones fracture in his right foot, forcing Moss to sit out the event and undergo surgery. With coronavirus concerns causing Pro Day cancellations, Moss was never truly able to showcase his abilities to scouts in person, but the tape itself, for many, appeared to do enough talking to secure himself as one of the 255 picks.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported later that evening that Moss had been signed by the Washington Redskins, joining former LSU left tackle Saahdiq Charles, the No. 108 overall pick of Round 4. But not hearing his name called might prove to have a few benefits of its own.
Now, Moss walks into Washington with a chance to compete for playing time as Redskins tight ends combined for just 44 catches combined in 2019.
Although the son of Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss, there was certainly no royal treatment handed down. Constantly compared to his father, there’s no question Thad will be tremendously eager to create a name for himself at the professional level in the nation’s capital.
Moss recorded a 80.0% completion rate in the red-zone, the best among tight ends in the 2020 NFL Draft. At a school that rarely implemented the tight end in the passing game, Moss became one of Heisman winner Joe Burrow’s favorite targets during the National Championship run.
“His hands and ball skills are outstanding in the passing game,” said Joe Marino of The Draft Network. “He has a natural feel for tracking the football and plucking it with extension. Literally catches everything. Like his physicality as a route runner at the top of his routes. Does well to position his frame at the catch point.”
His most famous play at LSU puts all of those traits on full display. His hands are elite. His ability to extend his body is unique. And his physicality as both a route runner and a blocker makes him a player who is suitable to play many years in the NFL.
He may not be a starter right away, but it’s not far fetched to think he could land a TE2 role for the Redskins at some point. If he becomes a little more dynamic after the catch, and enhances his athleticism, Moss could end up as the top UDFA to come out of LSU’s 2019 draft class.