With the Draft fast approaching, it's time to start looking at some potential players for the Patriots. I'm going to put profiles of 2 players a day- one offense, one defensive- and gain a better understanding of the players in the draft.
Georgia Tech WR Demaryius Thomas is one of the premier down the field threats in the draft. At 6-3, 224 lbs, Thomas has the #1 receiver size that most teams drool over. However, coming from Georgia Tech's triple option offense, Thomas never had to run a route- he just had to be open. On a team where precision is a need, like the Patriots, Thomas will need to learn quickly how to run crisp routes and have timing with his QB. He can run down the field, but since his route running is so unknown, scouts don't know if he can handle running in traffic, on sidelines, across the field or anywhere other than deep. Also, he's coming off a recent injury which prevented him from showing his skills at the combine. Think of Thomas as a less polished Joey Galloway. However, despite my Galloway comparison, Thomas is made of pure potential. If he can learn how to run routes, he could be a great top receiver in this league.
His measurements and some quotes after the jump.
Height: 6-3. Weight: 224.
02/24/2010 - 2010 NFL DRAFT SCOUT PRE-COMBINE TOP 64: 39. *Demaryius Thomas ??? WR, Georgia Tech, 6-3, 229, 1-2: Broke his foot in a Feb. 16 workout, and it is expected to take four to six weeks to heal and perhaps longer before he's 100%. It's doubtful he will be able to work out for scouts before the draft, so NFL teams will need to rely on game film for analysis. What they'll see is an exceptional big-play star, as evidenced last season when he grabbed 46 passes for 1,154 yards, a 25.1-yard a catch average. Thomas is a huge target with large hands and can make tough catches. He shows surprising turn-and-go speed, and if he is able to put it all together, he should be a star in the NFL. - Frank Cooney, USA TODAY/NFL Draft Scout
02/19/2010 - Former Georgia Tech wide receiver Demaryius Thomas said his broken foot may affect his draft status, but he hopes it doesn't. Thomas broke his foot on Tuesday during a 3-cone drill while training Scottsdale, Ariz. He said he was finishing the exercise when he planted his foot and heard something pop. The break was diagnosed on Wednesday. He is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. "A lot of people may not want to draft me because they won't know what my speed is like," Thomas said. Luckily for him, Thomas was taped running the 40-yard dash, the length NFL teams use to measure speed, in a blistering 4.38 seconds during a camp training session. That video was sent to all 32 of the NFL's teams, his agent Todd France told SI.com on Wednesday. Thomas, a native of Montrose, had 46 receptions for 1,154 yards and eight touchdowns last season. During his three-year career at Tech, Thomas caught 120 passes for 2,339 yards and 14 touchdowns. Thomas praised the trainers at API in Scottsdale, where he's been the past few weeks preparing for next week's NFL Combine in Indianapolis. Before breaking his foot, Thomas said he had been working on improving his speed, strength and route-running ahead of the combine. He said he will still attend the event, but won't participate in the drills. He said he didn't think he would be able to participate in Tech's pro day, which will be held in mid-March. He said he would likely schedule a pro day between then and the draft on April 22. - Doug Roberson, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Thomas has rare measurables for the wide receiver position and will be a very attractive gamble for some team after the first round. He shows excellent vertical speed, especially for someone his size, and can be intimidating to a cornerback when isolated on the perimeter. He has the size of a tight end with the speed, agility and ball skills of a wide receiver. He needs a lot of work on his route running skills as he tends to round off his breaks and will telegraph his routes with too much upper body movement. He can make acrobatic type catches but will drop some very catchable passes due to lapses in concentration. He is not a very physical blocker on the edge in spite of his massive size advantage. In a recent workout, Thomas broke his foot and will be unable to participate in combine drills.
Final Word: In a scheme where the run comes first, second, and third, the ability of Thomas was not put on full display over the past few years. If he had been playing in an NFL pro set offense, Thomas could be the most sought after receiver in this class. But because of his lack of experience running the full route tree and reading coverages, he is going to enter the league as a raw talent that needs a lot of coaching. The ceiling with this player is just as high as any receiver in this class, yet he will likely be available in the second round. Considering his strong work ethic and love for all aspects of the game, one has to believe that Thomas is going to mold himself in to a top flight receiver in the NFL. Once he learns the little details surrounding technique, he is going to be a legit number one receiver that can do it all.
Verdict: Thomas is built to succeed in a run first offense that needs down the field blockers. That makes me think he'll be sought after by the Vikings, Titans and Ravens. While I think that Thomas could do well with the Patriots if he was given a lot of time, I don't think we have that time. If we select Thomas in the 2nd round, he'll be expected to contribute immediately, or else the comparisons to Chad Jackson and Bethel Johnson would be non-stop. Thomas won't be selected by the Patriots- but look for him to succeed in a run first offense.