Thaddeus Moss will have to live with the burden of being compared to his father wherever he ends up in the NFL draft. Randy Moss was one of the best wide receivers the league has ever seen, after all, and was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame based on his impressive 14-year career. The scouting combine in Indianapolis is therefore already a first impression what life in the NFL might look like for the younger Moss.
During his media availability session on Tuesday, the LSU tight end was asked about his famous father numerous times. He did not grow tired of talking about, however, as the 21-year-old pointed out on one such occasion: “The questions will never get old. To be honest, I actually like talking about him. There’s not a lot of people who get to talk about their dad being a Hall of Famer and being in this position already.”
Moss’ father entered the NFL as a first-round draft pick by the Minnesota Vikings in 1998 and quickly established himself as one of the most talented pass catchers the league has ever seen. And while his career hit a low-point during his two seasons with the then-Oakland Raiders, he bounced back in impressive fashion after being acquired by the New England Patriots via trade during the 2007 offseason.
Over the three-and-a-half years that followed, Moss showed that he was still a premier receiver in the NFL while simultaneously becoming a fan favorite in New England. Naturally, his son is a player Patriots fans will keep a close eye on throughout the pre-draft process: not only is he the son of a legendary player who found considerable success with the team, he also was playing a position in college the Patriots desperately need to improve.
“It would mean a lot,” Moss said when speaking about potentially being drafted by his father’s former team and catching touchdown passes from the same quarterback — Tom Brady — that hooked up with his dad for a combined 40 scores. “Just to catch a touchdown pass period in the NFL would mean a lot. But to catch it from Tom Brady knowing that he threw a good amount of touchdown passes to my father, it would be a good story.”
Moss would join a familiar environment if coming to New England. He was eight years old when his father was traded to the Patriots, and has pleasant memories of the organization whose colors his now-43-year-old dad wore between 2007 and 2010: “I’ve talked to Coach [Bill] Belichick before. I’ve talked to [Robert] Kraft. Probably my most fond memories are the undefeated season that they had — obviously, they didn’t finish it the way they wanted to.”
“That, and I was in the facility once or twice before, meeting Tom Brady when I was younger, sitting there starstruck. Walking down the hallway seeing Tedy Bruschi... seeing Coach [Mike] Vrabel walking down the hallway when I was younger. Those are probably the fondest memories that I’ve had,” continued the younger Moss when speaking about the time he spent in New England alongside his father.
Now, Thaddeus Moss will need to make a name for himself in the NFL and step out of his father’s enormous shadow. Playing a different position — albeit still on the offensive side of the ball — is one way of doing that, and his playing style also should help: while Randy Moss was a prototypical deep-threat wide receiver, his son has built a draft résumé by being a physical blocker whose contributions as a receiver are somewhat limited.
“I took pride in [blocking] all year,” he said at the podium on Tuesday. “All of the receivers always ask me in the offseason, ‘How many catches are you going to have? How many touchdowns are you going to have?’ I was like, ‘Look, man, I don’t care about catches. You can have as many as y’all want. I’m a tight end. I’m not a receiver. I’ll do the dirty work, and y’all go score touchdowns do your little dance and stuff. I’ll go block.’”
Moss’ “do your job”-mentality should certainly be attractive to the Patriots and fit in well with the organization, but it remains to be seen if it eventually sees him as a player worth spending a projected mid-round draft selection on. One thing is certain, though: if coming to New England, Moss would be a popular player right away.