The Kansas City Chiefs spent a third-round pick on tight end Tony Moeaki in the 2010 NFL draft. The rap on him coming out was that he was a very solid overall tight end but has an injury history.
During rookie camp in May, he was impressive showing his athleticism but he went on to miss most of the OTAs with some sort of stomach issue. By training camp, he had another injury, this time to the leg, that cost him a few weeks.
He saw very little action in the preseason and, even though there was a little hype surrounding him, expectations were tempered because, after all, the guy hadn't done anything yet.
And then the season started.
In Week 1, Moeaki caught three balls for 21 yards which doesn't seem like much until you realize the Chiefs passed for 68 as a whole against the San Diego Chargers that night. He added a touchdown as well.
In Week 2, Moeaki was the leading receiver with five receptions for 58 yards against the Cleveland Browns. At this point, he's the Chiefs' leading receiver.
In Week 3, he made the catch. You know, the catch? Yeah, it was the catch of the year to this point for the Chiefs. He added another four receptions for 44 yards in that game.
I would file him under "One of the Biggest Surprises." After training camp and seeing him with the injury and little playing time in the preseason, I gotta admit I thought, "Here we go with an injury..." because he's had issues with that in his career.
His response to that was impressive: 12 catches, 123 yards and two touchdowns through three games.
Matt Cassel said this week that Moeaki has done an outstanding job this offseason and he's starting to really come along. Cassel was impressed with that touchdown catch from Moeaki so I imagine he's pretty happy with him.
I think Moeaki's going to become a fan favorite for a few reasons (but mostly because he's a good player).
He's quiet and does his job. Fans seem to gravitate to the players that quietly do their job and don't ask for a lot of hoopla in return. Moeaki works hard, sees the results in games and rarely speaks out of turn or says anything that is anything other than crediting his teammates.
He's a good player. Moeaki really is the whole package. He's athletic, he can block and knows his role. He's quickly shown why the Chiefs drafted him.
Character. This goes along with him quietly doing his job but Moeaki is a man of high character and per various people around him this isn't an act. It's the way he is. Kirk Ferentz from Iowa said similar things when he was coming out.
He's smart. I'd imagine that Moeaki had the playbook down before a lot of other rookies. I know that he quickly learned everything in that playbook in order to give himself a better shot. He's definitely a smart guy.
It's a big rookie year so far for Moeaki, who has 12 catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns. He'll never be like the other Tony the tight end but as a rookie he's doing some very impressive things.
I would compare him to Andy Studebaker in terms of the type of player he is and how he's perceived. People love Studebaker because of his story but also because he's polite, quiet and does his job. The same goes with Moeaki.
What you need to walk away knowing about Moeaki is that he's versatile. He's a very good blocker and you've seen what he can do in the passing game. He works hard, teammates seem to like him and he's scoring touchdowns.
And the Chiefs are 3-0. It doesn't get a whole lot better than that.