Georgia Tech Junior
PROS: A deceptive vertical threat that does a good job making plays downfield. Has good, strong hands with nice body control. Does a good job in traffic, as he plays the ball well in the air and usually will come down with the jump ball. Secures the ball before turning upfield after the catch, and will use his size to overpower smaller defensive backs.
CONS: Is not a burner and doesn't have great separation to make plays consistently down field at the next level. Needs to improve his blocking and doesn't hold them. Lacks polish as a route-runner. Seems a bit heavy.
OVERVIEW: His role in Georgia Tech's offense is basically to go deep, where Josh Nesbitt says, "I'll throw it up, you catch it." But if he's not doing that, then he's doing little. He averaged 25.1 yards per reception last year.
NFL FORECAST: There's plenty of reason to believe that Thomas can be an impact playmaker at the next level eventually, just very little to think that will be in the very near future. His learning curve in playing in the NFL is fairly steep. He doesn't have a lot of experience running a variety of routes and patterns, thus his route-running needs plenty of work, and he doesn't possess the speed and burst to be a significant vertical option in the pros. He'll make plays downfield, but not to any degree that anyone would call him a deep threat by traditional standards. So he's a project essentially. I think him losing some weight could help him since in the bowl game vs. Iowa looked like he had a bit of a gut. He's thickly built, which makes him a difficult matchup, but I'd guess he looked probably closer to 240 pounds in that game, so that would have to be monitored. His size and ability means that he projects well to being a good possession wideout at the next level. The only problem is that he's only been used as a vertical threat only, so there is a high learning curve to become essentially a brand new player. So it's going to take time and teams will have to be patient. He's another boom/bust prospect.
ATL FORECAST: Thomas could be an impact player in Atlanta, eventually working his way as the No. 2 option on the outside opposite White. But he's going to take a lot of polish. But there is reason to believe he can be better than Jenkins down the road. His size and strength mean he could be a more reliable option in traffic and the redzone. But at this point there's no reason to believe he will be better than Jenkins in any other regard. He'd be a project in Atlanta that could succeed Jenkins three years down the road, but the team isn't likely to get a whole lot from him between now and then other than occasional flashes as a fourth option.
VALUE: Thomas has first round potential based off his upside, but because he's a bit of a project, I'd hold on drafting him until to the middle or latter part of the second round.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
AFTER CATCH: 3.5
BODY CONTROL: 4.0
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.