Hello again readers! As I’m writing this we are only 101 days away from one of my favorite days of the year; the NFL Draft. The NFL Draft is a day that fills NFL fans around the country with excitement, both in hopes of turning their franchise around, or getting that last piece of the puzzle needed to take their team to the Super Bowl. The 2014 draft class is particularly exciting because it is loaded with talented players who could be All-Pro’s at the next level. One player who I believe could be an All-Pro at the next level is Oregon’s De’Anthony Thomas.
At this point, you may be asking yourself: “What does OW stand for?” To answer your question, it stands for offensive weapon, which is exactly what De’Anthony Thomas is. In his freshman year at Oregon, Thomas ran the ball 55 times for 595 yards, and 7 TD’s. You’re probably thinking to yourself, “That’s not very impressive,” but consider this: scoring 7 times on just 55 rushes means that Thomas scored every 8 times he ran the ball. Not only that, but Thomas averaged a staggering 10.8 yards per carry. To give you a comparison, Jamaal Charles only averaged 7.4 yards per carry and scored every 11 rushes in his best year at Texas. Thomas did all this while being the second, and sometimes third option at RB for Oregon. While theses numbers are impressive, his yards per carry declined every year that he was at Oregon, partly due to injuries. Nonetheless, check out this impressive 91 yard touchdown run that Thomas ripped off against Stanford in the 2012 Rose Bowlhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcwVBOipeaA. While Thomas is an impressive runner, at 5’10”, and 176 pounds, Thomas doesn’t really have the size to be an every down type of running back in the NFL. Not that it really matters though, because Thomas has a great set of hands to compliment his fast feet.
During his best receiving year at Oregon (again his freshman year), Thomas caught 46 passes for 605 yards and 9 TD’s. Other than the 9 TD passes, his receiving numbers don’t overwhelm you, but these numbers would give Thomas an average of 13.2 yards per catch, and would mean that Thomas scored every 5 times he caught a pass! That kind of ability to produce yards after the catch could make Thomas a vital part of Andy Reid’s pass heavy west coast offense. Unfortunately for Thomas, he never matched theses number again in his career. Even though Thomas’ numbers did decline after his freshman year, he averaged less than 10 yards per catch, or 6 yards per carry. Here’s a video of Thomas making a nice one-handed grab against Arizona this year http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1ohzlhGikY. His offensive skills are very good, but Thomas’ explosive playmaking ability could make him the greatest returner the NFL has ever seen.
Thomas had 5 return touchdowns in his career at Oregon. He only had 16 punt returns, but still managed to accumulate 274 return yards and one touchdown in only two years of returning punts. Thomas really excelled at returning kicks; in three years Thomas returned 73 kicks for 1885 yards and four touchdowns. This video gives you a look at just how fast Thomas is on a 94 yard kick return in the 2013 Fiesta Bowl http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jl6vWtlXbYU. Thomas averaged 25.8 yards per kick return, and 17.1 yards per punt return in his three years at Oregon. As you can see, there’s really nothing that De’Anthony Thomas can’t do on the offensive side of the football (except maybe throw the ball). But that doesn’t mean that Thomas is a sure fire superstar in the NFL, in fact there are a few reasons that Thomas could slip out of the first round in this years draft.
Earlier in this post I mentioned that Thomas was about 5’10” and weighed around 176 pounds. This is a cause for concern for NFL scouts and GM’s who worry that due to his small size Thomas would find it difficult to have a long NFL career. Another concern about Thomas is that he doesn’t have a true position. Many people think that Thomas is to fragile to play running back, and to small to play wide receiver. In my opinion, Thomas doesn’t have to have a certain position, and if used properly, could stay healthy enough to have a very successful career in the NFL. Thomas could be used as a lethal slot receiver, as well as a change-of-pace type of running back in the same offense. Thomas would most likely take over both the punt and kick returner spot on any team from day one. I think that if you keep his touches to about 15 per game, De’Anthony Thomas could have a lot of success at the next level. And trust me, Thomas doesn’t even need that many touches to leave his mark on a game.
So what do you think readers? Should the Chiefs use their first round pick on De’Anthony Thomas? In my opinion, if Thomas is left on the board when it’s the Chiefs turn to pick, John Dorsey shouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger. An offense with Jamaal Charles and De’Anthony Thomas could absolutely catastrophic for opposing defenses. But perhaps you don’t agree with me. If you don’t, let me know who you think the Chiefs should take in this years draft. I’ll be doing a Mock Draft for Chiefs 360 shortly, and will be sure to look at each and every player you guys suggest to determine who I think the best player is for the Chiefs to draft.
As always GO CHIEFS!!!