Has good athleticism and shows ability to extend plays and make plays with his legs when the pass breaks down. Can use studder-step or spin to juke a defender in the open field. Does a decent job covering up the ball when he's in traffic as a runner. Doesn't shy away from contact, but also knows when he needs to slide and avoid it. Comfortable with the ball in his hands when working on the zone read. Showcases good zip on many throws, able to fit some tighter windows. Shows some ability to move laterally within the pocket and find some throwing lanes. At times, flashes footwork as a dropback passer when working out of the shotgun, and able to step into throws. Can hit the deep post at times for big gains. At times can throw away from the defender, leading his receiver down the seam or on a crossing route. Can make the back-shoulder throw downfield. Will use the pump to move the safety. Able to go to the opposite field at times when his first read is not there.
Has a slight build and frame, and probably won't be able to take a NFL punishment. Not very dangerous with the ball in his hands, and only has average speed as a runner. Holds the ball too often like a loaf of bread when scrambling, and struggles with ball security within the pocket when defenders can hit him. Lacks great arm strength to spin it when he does step into his throws. Has a quirky release and poor mechanics. Has a baseball pitcher's wind-up, which allows him to get velocity on some throws, but elongates his release and causes him to hold onto the ball too long. When he's pressured, has a hard time quickening his mechanics leading to him rushing and short-arming throws. His release and poor footwork make him largely inaccurate when throwing outside the pocket or on the move. Rarely squares his shoulders or resets his feet when throwing on the run, leading to high throws. Struggles with his footwork within the pocket because he works almost exclusively out of the shotgun. Tends to be a catch and release passer that struggles to set his feet and open his hips when throwing. Will throw with too wide a base at times when he's trying to step into his throws. Lacks poise when under pressure and tends to fade away or throw off his back foot. Lacks anticipation and is inaccurate on the majority of his throws, throwing behind receivers or leading them too far. Late on his reads consistently. Can't quickly go through his progressions. Defenders are able to jump his routes because he's late on throws. Struggles with his touch on the deep pass, as receivers are often waiting on them and they are underthrown. Stares down his first read, rarely looks off the safety. Throws behind receivers on the out patterns or over the middle and consistently has throws sail on him or wind up in the dirt. Doesn't make the easy throws. Will float passes over the middle and throw up ducks when he's pressured, prone to making poor decisions.
Thomas made an odd decision to go pro as a junior, after a junior year where he was exposed for his inaccuracy, sloppy mechanics. He apparently has a high opinion of himself, and probably likens himself to Cam Newton, as an athletic passer that comes from a spread offense and can have success in the pros. The difference is Thomas isn't as physically blessed as Newton, which in the latter's case covers up many of the mechanical flaws and poor decision making Newton has. It's not to say he can't play in the NFL, but he's not going to be good. His mechanics, footwork, and accuracy are just either too sloppy or too poor to think he can make it work as a quarterback. There isn't a huge difference between him and Dennis Dixon, who I thought was way overdrafted when he came out of Oregon four years ago. But Dixon had a bit more polish to his game, and Thomas needed another year to add at least that. He's a player that might be better suited to a position change at this point, but doesn't have the ideal speed or athleticism to think he can make playing wide receiver work. He was involved in a car accident with teammate Eddie Pleasant in 2008, where they were in a street race. Pleasant was driving, and Thomas was uninjured in the accident.
2011 GAMES WATCHED:
(9/3) vs. LSU: Short (<10 yds): 24 of 41 (59%), 170 yds (4.1 YPA), 120 YAC, 0 TDs, 0 INTS, 12 poor throws, 2 drops; Deep (>10 yds): 3 of 8 (38%), 34 yds (4.3 YPA), 1 YAC, 1 TDs, 1 INTs, 3 poor throws, 0 drops
(10/6) vs. California: Short: 8 of 19 (42%), 83 yds (4.4 YPA), 43 YAC, 0 TDs, 1 INTs, 4 poor throws, 2 drops; Deep: 5 of 6 (83%), 115 yds (19.2 YPA), 30 YAC, 3 TDs, 0 INTs, 1 poor throw, 0 drops
(11/12) at Stanford: Short: 7 of 8 (88%), 71 yds (8.9 YPA), 68 YAC, 1 TDs, 0 INTs, 0 poor throws, 0 drops; Deep: 3 of 6 (50%), 74 yds (12.3 YPA), 48 YAC, 2 TDS, 0 INTs, 2 poor throws, 1 drop; 1 fumble
(12/2) vs. UCLA: Short: 13 of 24 (54%), 123 yds (5.1 YPA), 96 YAC, 1 TDs, 1 INTS, 3 poor throws, 5 drops, 1 throwaway; Deep: 4 of 8 (50%), 70 yds (8.8 YPA), 5 YAC, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 2 poor throws, 1 drop
(1/2) vs. Wisconsin: Short: 11 of 14 (79%), 71 yds (5.1 YPA), 50 YAC, 1 TDs, 0 INTs, 1 poor throw, 1 drop; Deep: 6 of 9 (67%), 197 yds (21.9 YPA), 64 YAC, 2 TDs, 1 INTs, 2 poor throws, 1 drop; 1 fumble, 1 tgt., 1 rec, 8 yds, 14 YAC, 0 TDs
2011: 13 GP/13 GS (12-1 record), 211 comp., 339 att., 62.2%, 2761 yds, 8.1 YPA, 33 TDs, 7 INTs; 206 rush yds, 3 TDs
2010: 13/13-(12-1)-222-361-61.5-2881-8.0-30-9; 486-5
2008: 5/0-16-33-48.5-2681-8.1-3-1; 27-1
- missed 1 game in 2011 with an undisclosed injury
Thomas is simply a project, and probably too much of a project for any team to really put the effort into developing. Because even if you do put in the work, it's not like it's going to reap much benefits down the line. Even if you do develop him and polish up the raw aspects of his game, you're still looking at a guy that should be holding a clipboard as a No. 3 guy and will struggle if put in games for extended periods of time. If there is a key to his success in the pros, it'll be a coach refining his mechanics and footwork. Playing in a dropback offense is going to be a taller order for him than it is for a lot of spread quarterbacks because he's not very good when things get muddy. With pressure in his face, he's going to make poor decision and throw wildly inaccurate balls. And that's something that is really not going to ever go away. He doesn't have the big arm, accuracy, or at least the athleticism to make plays with his legs to bail himself out of those positions. He's a pretty good athlete, but guys like Dixon were better. He needs pristine conditions to be effective, and even then he doesn't show the ability to throw an accurate football. There is a chance he could move to wide receiver because with his size and decent speed he could be a guy that could present matchup issues for lesser corners. But he'd really have to commit to that position because in comparison to most wide receivers he has below average speed and burst. So he'd have to really commit to becoming a better route runner. And even then, you're looking at him being just a No. 5 guy that plays on special teams. And it doesn't seem like Thomas is reedy to make that commitment, and probably never will. And thus like a player like Pat White, it's hard for me to see Thomas really lasting in the league for more than a summer or two. He might be able to go to Canada or one of the Arena leagues and be an effective player. And then maybe after a few years development, he can come back to the NFL and try to land a backup position. But even if he was to go to the CFL and become an all-pro there, I would think at best if he came back south to the NFL, the best you'd hope for him to be is a player similar to Anthony Wright, a competent No. 2, but mostly a No. 3 guy.
Thomas could be a camp body in Atlanta. But as a quarterback he offers little value to the team, and would be better served being moved to wide receiver where he doesn't offer that much different a skillset than Kerry Meier. But unlike Meier, who played wide receiver in college and is firmly committed to playing at that position, Thomas appears not to be. So unless he finds a role on special teams, then he stands no chance of even making the Falcons practice squad.
Thomas isn't worth drafting, and probably most teams should pass on him as an undrafted free agent unless he was willing to come to camp and compete as a wide receiver or on special teams. You're just better off letting him go to Canada and waiting four or five years.
1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
Arm Strength: 5.5
Decision Making: 4.0
Pocket Awareness: 3.5
Scouting reports of the quarterbacks in the 2012 Draft.
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