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De’Anthony Thomas (Oregon)

Courtesy of Steve Dykes

Courtesy of Steve Dykes

Height: 5’9″
Weight: 170
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Projected Draft Position: 4th – 5th

Before enrolling at Oregon, De’Anthony Thomas was ranked the nation’s top athlete, according to Rivals, and Scout.com had him listed as the No. 1 cornerback prospect in the country. Once at Oregon, Thomas hit the ground running, earning Pac-12 Freshman of the Year honors, as well as earning a spot on the All-Pac-12 first team as a kick returner.

As a sophomore in 2012, after racking up more than 700 yards on the ground, 440 through the air and 17 touchdowns, Thomas was named a Maxwell Award semifinalist. And despite missing four games last year due to injury, Thomas finished his junior season with 594 rushing yards, 246 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.

Athleticism 

+ Track speed
+ Short legs
+ Superb acceleration
+ Home run threat with the ball
+ Doesn’t miss a beat in his maneuverability
+ Light feet — can accelerate, stop, bounce and accelerate with ease
– Small frame, lacks bulk/thickness

Rushing/Vision

+ Dynamic playmaker
+ Thrives with the ball in space
+ Can juke his way out of traffic
+ Explosive through his cuts
+ Sees a seam and jumps on it with superb acceleration
+ Can weave and maneuver without losing speed
+ Great change of direction and elusiveness
+ Keeps his head up, sees developing lanes
– Won’t break any tackles
– Hardly any damage done between the tackles (better in ZBS)
– Frame won’t allow for longevity and/or success in power scheme as RB

Route Runner

+ Has the hands to play in the slot
+ Effective underneath
+ Can split out wide and take the top off a defense
+ Quickness off the line is an asset
+ Not sure he’s containable on a ‘Go
+ Despite size/weight, not afraid to catch over the middle
– Concentration breaks down on deep throws
– Re-routed and disrupted on shallow routes due to lack of size
– More duties at WR would require developed route tree
– Needs to develop timing, precision, etc. in his routes

Hands

+ Reliable hands in short routes
+ Easy bringing in short passes, does his damage after the catch
– Needs to improve bringing in deep balls
– Needs to improve ball tracking
– Size doesn’t provide much chance to win contested passes

Intangibles/Other

+ Plenty of upside as a slot receiver
+ Versatile athlete who can lineup anywhere on the field
+ The type of player who allows OCs to get creative
+ Offensive weapon and specialist
+ Very threatening kick returner
+ Lack of size/bulk doesn’t make him soft — he’s a tough guy
– Appears to be a willing blocker, but lacks size for reliable pass pro
– Durability is a concern given size/frame

Final Say

As one of the most electrifying players in the country, De’Anthony Thomas is an offensive weapon who will be as threatening and dynamic as his future offensive coordinator wants him to be. He has uncoachable athleticism that translates to any position and he’s a threat to score whenever he touches the ball.

Thomas is best-suited as a slot receiver at the next level. Not only would it help to lengthen his career as a small-frame athlete, but it would also best showcase his strongest talents. And given where his hands are at this stage in his career, coaches would have a solid foundation to work with and develop.

 

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