Many analysts and fans were surprised that the Washington Football Team didn’t sign a veteran tight end during free agency in March. One reason may be a second-year undrafted free agent from LSU; Thaddeus Moss is the forgotten player who offers the team depth and flexibility at TE in 2021
Many fans think that Moss was cut from the team last season, but that’s not what happened. Because of a foot injury, Moss was put on Injured Reserve prior to the start of the season. Since he was on a rookie contract, he was required to pass through waivers before that happened. The team tweeted that he had been waived with an injury designation, and that’s all many people remember.
In fact, although Moss didn’t play in any regular season games last season, he has been with the Washington Football Team for almost a year.
Prior to the discovery of his broken foot at the Combine last year, he was considered the best pass-catcher in the ‘20 TE class, and was seen as a talented blocker with a nasty streak. The weak part of his game is a lack of speed, which is what kept him from being a top tier draft prospect coming out of college a year ago. Moss will still lack speed, but after a year as a professional athlete, Moss is likely much more NFL ready than he was at this time last year.
Moss should, in fact, be the #2 tight end on Washington’s depth chart.
While the Washington front office seems likely to select a tight end in the upcoming draft, the team will almost certainly carry three players at the position on the regular roster, and Moss should be an important part of the roster this season.
Firstly, Moss is a very good blocker in both in the running game and the passing game. He can win against linebackers or safeties and can take on defenders one on one in passing sets. Thaddeus Moss would probably be the best blocking tight end Washington has had in more than a decade.
Secondly, while Moss isn’t primarily a receiving threat, when you watch his tape it is clear that while he isn’t fast, Moss has a huge catch radius and he doesn’t drop passes. He had the best hands among all draft eligible tight ends a year ago.
Moss also plays tough and he’s got lots of upside potential. He is a bully when blocking or running routes, and he has the hard mental attitude that defines winners in high level sports.
In short, Moss is a young player with tons of upside. He is more of a traditional in-line tight end than a passing threat. For that reason, he’ll be a valuable addition to the roster as he arrives to training camp healthy for the first time. His presence helps the offensive line blocking and provides an outlet receiver who can help move the chains in the passing game.
While many look at Moss as a mere undrafted free agent and likely practice squad candidate, he was actually expected to be a mid-round draft pick coming out of LSU last season. Prior to discovery of his broken foot at the February Combine in Indianapolis, not many people would have been surprised if Moss had gone to a team in the 4th or 5th round. Unfortunately for Moss he had a bone fracture in his fifth metatarsal bone that required surgery. As a result, he went undrafted, and was signed by the WFT.
It was initially expected he would be healthy enough to play as a rookie, but his recovery did not proceed as expected, and he was placed on Injured Reserve in late August, ending his rookie season.
This season, Logan Thomas returns as the incumbent starting tight end for the Washington Football Team, but Moss should see the significant playing time as a skilled blocker and reliable pass catcher. He should be better prepared to contribute to Washington's offense than any tight end that the team will be in a position to draft.
His presence in the lineup should improve the WFT running and passing attacks; his great hands should offer QB Ryan Fitzpatrick a reliable target, and his presence on the field with Logan Thomas should be an upgrade to last year’s secondary TE option of Jeremy Sprinkle. In short, the Washington offense should have better blocking, more reliable pass catching and greater scheme flexibility as a result of having a healthy Thaddeus Moss on the roster, and the second year player should be a reliable player for Washington for years to come.