The struggles of New England Patriots’ tight ends were evident last season following the abrupt retirement of Rob Gronkowski, who decided to call it a career after nine years in the NFL. Veteran Ben Watson, who came out of retirement as a possible replacement for Gronkowski, was the best performing tight end in the regular season, catching 17 passes for 173 yards, Matt LaCosse received 13 passes for 131 yards and a score while Ryan Izzo had six catches for 114 yards and a touchdown for the Patriots. Their combined output paled in comparison to Gronkowski’s production last season, where he recorded 47 catches for 682 yards and three touchdowns in just 13 games.

In the 2020 NFL Draft, the Patriots are expected to address their need at tight end with only LaCosse and Izzo under contract for next season and Watson expected to retire for a second time.

According to Phil Perry of NBC Sports, New England could consider LSU tight end Thaddeus Moss, son of Hall of Famer and former Patriots receiver Randy Moss, as a possible replacement for Gronkowski. Moss’ play with the Tigers went unnoticed this season until the College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship game where he caught five catches for 36 yards and two touchdowns in their 42-25 win over the Clemson Tigers. The younger Moss on Friday declared that he will forego his final season with the Tigers and enter the 2020 NFL Draft.

In a message on Twitter, Moss thanked LSU for allowing him to be a part of something legendary, referring to their run to the national championship.

Moss could be taken in Day 2 of NFL Draft

In his final year with the Tigers, Moss caught 47 passes for 570 yards and four touchdowns. Matt Miller of Bleacher Report said Moss’ draft stock has risen significantly following his performance for the Tigers in the national championship.

Miller said Moss, with his 6-foot-3 and 249-pound frame, could attract NFL teams on Day 2 of the NFL Draft. Miller said Moss possesses “up-the-seam speed, big body and ability to beat defenders with a big catch radius.” Barrett Sallee of CBS Sports said Moss' athleticism could impress NFL scouts and could help him propel up the boards of NFL teams during the pre-draft process.

Brady and young Moss could play together

Perry said the Patriots could draw interest in the younger Moss, whose father played for three-plus years in New England, to fill the void left by Gronkowski. “The Patriots might have some more in-depth scouting information on Moss than other teams as his father played for Bill Belichick from 2007-10,” said Perry. Like his father, there is a possibility that the younger Moss could catch passes from Tom Brady if the veteran quarterback returns for his 21st season in New England.

The Brady-Moss connection was one of the best partnerships in NFL history. In his first season with the Patriots, Moss caught 98 passes for 1,493 yards and a career-best 23 touchdowns.

Earlier, the elder Moss said the Patriots should add more weapons if Brady decides to stay in New England. Per Pats Pulpit, the Patriots own 12 picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, including the 23rd overall selection and four compensatory picks.