LSU tight end Thaddeus Moss had a nice National Championship game Monday night in his team’s 42-25 win at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans against Clemson as he finished with five catches for 36 yards and two touchdowns. On the heels of that Monday night showing by Moss, the son of Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss, several fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers are now clamoring for the team to select the underclassman tight end in the second-round of the 2020 NFL Draft should he indeed declare by Friday and ultimately last that long.
With Moss seemingly being the first big majority want of the Steelers fan base this offseason, today is probably the perfect day to contextualize all of Moss’s targets from his just recently concluded 2019-2020 season at LSU.
For the 2019-2020 season. Moss, who is listed at 6′ 3″, 249-pounds, caught 47 passes for 570 yards and four touchdowns, of which two came in Monday night’s National Championship game. His long reception of the season was 62 yards and was good for a touchdown thanks to a busted coverage in LSU’s Semifinal win over Oklahoma. In total, Moss was targeted 55 times by LSU quarterback Joe Burrow during the recently concluded season and thus he registered an amazing 85.5 percent catch rate.
With those preliminary Moss stats now out of the way, below is a full play-by-play contextualization of every target of his from this past season. This contextualization also includes pertinent data for each play such as down, distance, quarter, passing distance from the original line of scrimmage, yards gained after the catch, area of the field the ball was targeted in as well as a video link to each play where applicable. Watching all 55 of Moss’s targets below should give most people a good idea as to the tight of pass catcher and route runner he is and how he was used in the LSU offense. I was able to contextualize all but one of Moss’s targets from last season and the missing one was his first one against Georgia Southern.
So, what does the data and contextualization of Moss’s 55 targets from the 2019-2020 season mostly tell us about the young tight end? For starters, Moss’s average targeted distance past the line of scrimmage this past season was a mildly disappointing 7.24 yards on 54 his contextualized targets. Moss’s average catch distance was just 6.5 yards past the line of scrimmage on 46 of his 47 total receptions. Additionally, only eight of his contextualized receptions were caught 10 or more yards past the original line of scrimmage.
While the younger Moss did register 254 yards after the catch on 46 of his 47 total receptions this past season, 65 of those yards came on two receptions, with one of those being the blown coverage touchdown that he had against Oklahoma. Remove that big catch and run and Moss’s average yards gained after the catch this past season was just 4.76 yards, a lot lower than I expected to find.
Surprisingly, 32 of Moss’s 46 contextualized receptions from this past season came five or less yards from the original line of scrimmage so that helps explain his high catch percentage. Most of those receptions came with him having a good deal of separation to boot.
Moss’s 2019-2020 reception reel doesn’t include very many “highlight grabs” and I think that will be easy to see when you watch each play linked below. Additionally, just a few of his receptions this past season included him running vertically either between the hash marks in the middle of the field or up the seams near or outside the numbers.
While Moss’s overall target and reception tape from this past season certainly isn’t awful, I didn’t find his reel to be as dynamic as I expected it to be. Throw in the fact that Moss wasn’t used very much as a blocking tight end this past season and it’s hard to imagine him being a bonafide tight end in this year’s draft class that’s guaranteed to be selected within the first two rounds. In fact, if Thaddeus’ last name weren’t Moss, I wonder if there would be this much hype about him just one day after the National Championship has been decided.
We’ll find out by this weekend if Moss will forgo his final season at LSU and declare for the 2020 NFL Draft as an underclassman. Personally, I think he should really consider staying for his final season of eligibility and work on becoming a more rounded tight end.
Should, however, Moss ultimately declare by this weekend, you can bet we’ll dive a lot deeper into his college tape and look at other nuances of his overall game such as his blocking and route running. In the meantime, however, the contextualization I have of Moss below should give most of you a good foundation of the kind of player he is at this stage of his football career.