Thursday, May 26, 2011
Soon to be stars: Tony Moeaki
By Matt Williamson
Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson looks at AFC West players on the verge of a breakout in 2011.
The Kansas City Chiefs have a talented young roster, so choosing one guy wasn’t easy to do. Eric Berry certainly could have been the choice. But at the end of March, I highlighted the safeties in the AFC West in my Scouts Eye column. And honestly, I really want to talk about Tony Moeaki, who is a personal favorite of mine.
Moeaki played a lot of snaps as a rookie. He quickly established himself as Kansas City’s starting tight end, and I think he will only get better. Moeaki does everything well. Although he's not the biggest guy, he is a very good blocker -- both in the run game and in protection. He is a natural knee bender who strikes his opponent on the rise, keeps his light feet moving and doesn’t give up until the whistle blows while maintaining inside hand position.
But Moeaki’s ability as a pass-catcher impresses me most. He has sticky hands and an excellent ability to go up and contort his body to secure the poorly thrown pass in a way few tight ends in this league can do right now. Moeaki is a sharp route runner and will only improve with his ability to sit down in a zone or exploit man coverage by linebackers and safeties. The Chiefs have a great running game and will have even more weapons at Matt Cassel’s disposal next season -- Dwayne Bowe, first-round pick Jonathan Baldwin and Dexter McCluster returning from an injury-plagued rookie season. Moeaki should see plenty of favorable matchups. Keying on one specific weapon the Chiefs’ passing game will be tough to do in 2011.
Moeaki, a third-round pick in the 2010 draft, could end up being one of the true bargains from that entire draft class -- and also one of the best tight ends in football.
Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.