By Kip Earlywine
40 time: 4.38
- Great size/speed
- Catches the ball far from his body with good technique
- High leaper, good jump ball skills
- Very good blocker
- Strong runner who breaks or carries tackles
- Has a lot of drops despite good technique. Maybe he lacks concentration?
- Doesn't have much knowledge or ability of route running due to Georgia Tech's style of offense
- Not as fast on the field as his 40 time would indicate
- Doesn't seem especially agile or explosive
- Raw prospect, expect a lot of development time
Demaryius Thomas is the closest thing in the 2010 draft to Brandon Marshall. He's similar in size to Marshall, similar in playstyle to Marshall, and like Marshall, Thomas is a bit of a project. This makes Thomas a very obvious target for Seattle should they make a trade that lands them a late 1st or early 2nd round pick. Its conceivable that he may even receive some consideration at #14, although I strongly doubt he's taken there. The inside source Rob often refers to cryptically mentioned "Thomas" as being an outside possibility at #14, but didn't mention if it was Earl Thomas or Demaryius Thomas, so I figured I'd cover my bases here.
I haven't seen enough of Thomas to form my own opinion yet, and 80% of what I wrote above are things I've read in various scouting reports. My personal draft philosophy is a dislike for developmental prospects in the first 3 rounds and a preference for polished players. I'd rather take a good player than a player with 10-20% higher upside yet half the odds of success. I don't like projects in the 1st mainly because when they bust it seems so obvious in retrospect, guys like Vernon Gholston, Gaines Adams, or Michael Clayton (Matt McGuire compared Thomas to Clayton interestingly enough) spring to mind. Polished guys bust too, but at least they are smarter gambles. It seems like Schneider falls into the "risk taker" or gambling on tools side of the GM spectrum. I don't think this is a bad thing even though its not my style. Some skilled GMs, like Thompson and Wolf in Green Bay, have made this approach work and that's the background Schneider comes from.
He may not be the best WR in this draft, but my favorite WR hands down is Damian Williams. He's just so polished and ready to contribute. Similarly, I probably like Charles Brown and Bryan Bulaga the most of the LTs. Demaryius Thomas is kind of the anti-Damian Williams, both in strengths and weaknesses. Thomas can't run routes almost at all, and Williams is one of the best route runners ever to come out of college. But Williams has a tendency to body catch, and Thomas does a great job of extending his arms to the ball and making quality technique grabs. Williams can separate with minimum effort and Thomas struggles to, etc. Thomas is going to be a guy who makes his money making tough catches over the middle and down the sideline, whereas Williams is going to make his money with a Bobby Engram like ability to get open on 3rd down. Williams is less likely to be a superstar, but Thomas is more likely to amount to nothing. That said, I don't hate or like Thomas, because I haven't seen enough of him yet to form my own strong opinion.
One note to make is that Thomas did not run a 40 yard dash at the combine or even at his pro day due to an injury, but I've read that he's run a "verified" 4.38 in the recent past. That seems a little hard to believe, personally, because he looks like he runs 4.5 - 4.6 on the field if I had to guess.
Anyway, Thomas is a gamble with solid to good upside and he fits the Bates/Schneider criteria like a glove. If Seattle trades down, he's absolutely a guy to keep an eye on.
Expect him to be drafted in... late 1st to early 2nd round.
Later tonight, I'll preview Geno Atkins. Tomorrow, I'll have a huge post up about mid to late round offensive line options to watch for. On Wednesday, I'll post a first round mock.
(off topic: they've kind of been hidden because of poor timing on my part, but I covered Chad and Reshad Jones earlier this week, if anyone missed them.)