De'Anthony Thomas' Mediocre Combine Indicates He Will Slide in 2014 NFL Draft

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent IFebruary 26, 2014

Former Oregon Ducks running back De'Anthony Thomas underwhelmed at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine. His inability to wow scouts means he's sure to slide into the final day of the draft this upcoming May in New York City. 

Thomas was one of the players whom fans and scouts were excited to see perform at the combine, but he failed to live up to expectations.

Here's a quick look at his combine numbers. 

HeightWeight40-Yard DashBench PressVerticalBroad
5'9"174 lbs4.50 sec.8 reps32 in.124 in.
NFL.com

Even before this disappointing performance, Thomas was always going to be a gimmick player, as pointed out by Mike Mayock of the NFL Network in an interview with Tyson Alger of The Oregonian:

(You) got to have a plan in place for how you use him. He's a kickoff guy, plus we got to get him 10 touches a game. How do we manufacture those 8 to 10 touches a game so he can make those plays for us that he did at Oregon?

Because of his speed and playmaking ability, in today's NFL he's more valuable that he would have been six, eight, 10 years ago.

Ducks running backs coach Gary Campbell raved about his speed before the combine, as well, via Andrew Greif of OregonLive.com:

I think when LaMichael (James) was here he had a faster 40-yard time on paper but this guy plays faster than anything you put him on the clock on. He's the fastest player on the football field that I've had...He plays a lot faster than he really is. He's got great speed but I think he plays even faster and I think that's going to be an advantage.

Unfortunately, he didn't show off the kind of speed we expected to see. 

For many players, running the 40-yard dash in 4.50 seconds would be considered an excellent time. However, Thomas comes into the league with serious questions about his slight build (5'9" and 174 lbs) and needed to run much faster to make a positive impression. 

Even worse, Thomas didn't stand out in any of the other drills, posting mediocre numbers in the broad jump and vertical leap while logging just eight reps on the bench press.

That total of eight was the worst mark of any running back at the combine...by five.

There was some confusion about his official 40 time after his "unofficial" times came in at 4.33 and 4.40 seconds, according to Aaron Fentress of CSNNW.com.

However, when looking at the incredible superimposed tape of Thomas running side by side with Jadeveon Clowney, who posted an official 4.53-second 40, it's clear Thomas' official number is correct. 

It's hard to compare Thomas to other prospects, given his unique skill set and physical proportions. However, Kent State's Dri Archer compares favorably, measuring in at 5'8" and 173 pounds.

There was no comparing the athletes on the field in Indianapolis, though. Archer nearly broke the combine record, running the 40 in 4.26 seconds, and he posted an impressive 20 reps on the bench while earning top marks in the vertical leap, three-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle.

This was the kind of performance Thomas had hoped to put together, but instead he left Indianapolis without making a splash. Unless he significantly improves upon his 40 time at his pro day on March 13, Thomas could conceivably fall all the way into the final couple of rounds.

A significantly improved showing at his pro day could boost Thomas' stock somewhat, but his status as a late-round pick is something he won't be able to change. 

No doubt, Thomas will get a shot to earn a roster spot. Given his past success at Oregon, it won't be shocking if he does find a niche as a return specialist and slot receiver.

Being drafted in the latter rounds doesn't mean anything when it comes to making an NFL roster. Thomas still has as good a chance as he ever did to make a name for himself as a pro. That said, he'll have to work extra hard for a big payday after being picked up late in the draft. 

 

All combine results courtesy of NFL.com's results tracker.

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78 

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