De'Anthony Thomas NFL Draft 2014: Highlights, Scouting Report for Chiefs RB

Ryan Lownes@@ryanlownesFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2014

Oregon running back De'Anthony Thomas (6) runs with the ball as Tennessee defensive back Michael Williams (7) closes in during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game in Eugene, Ore., Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. Oregon won 59-14. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)
Steve Dykes/Associated Press

De'Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon (HT: 5’8⅝", WT: 174 lbs)

Kansas City Chiefs 

Fourth Round: 124th Pick 

NFL Comparison: Darren Sproles, RB, Philadelphia Eagles 

Combine Weigh-in
508517429 7/8"8 1/8"
Combine Workout
40-yd dash10-yd splitVertBroad3-ConeShuttle


  • Great burst; he explodes around the corner or through the hole demonstrating excellent acceleration.
  • Despite a disappointing 4.50 at the NFL Scouting Combine, he possesses track speed and is a threat to take it the distance at any time.
  • Very quick, has excellent lateral agility and is able to cut on a dime.
  • Elusive in the open field, shows the ability to make defenders miss on in space and can make himself skinny in the hole.
  • Versatile playmaker that can run, catch and return.
  • A good enough receiver that he may have the potential to develop into a full-time option in the slot.
  • Catches the ball cleanly away from his body, plucking it easily outside his frame.
  • Dangerous after the catch with a combination of speed, agility and elusiveness that allows him to squeeze extra yardage out of any given play.
  • Runs decent routes both out of the backfield and in the slot.
  • Has nimble feet and can tip-toe on the sideline, staying inbounds.
  • Demonstrates vision to identify cutback lanes and find daylight.
  • Was often utilized in motion at Oregon; he can be moved around the formation to identify coverage and create mismatches.
  • Compact build makes it possible to lose sight of him in traffic.
  • Explosive kick and punt returner; he returned four kicks for touchdowns at Oregon and averaged 17.1 yards per punt return.


  • Very small with a slight build. Stands only 5’8.625” and is at least 20 pounds too light for an NFL running back, having weighed in at only 174 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine.
  • Lack of mass makes it difficult to withstand punishment, especially between the tackles. His momentum can be stopped or redirected, and he often goes down on first contact.
  • Not a powerful or bruising runner that will break many tackles; he cannot run through defenders and is not effective inside.
  • Tends to be hesitant when his lanes are congested, running tentatively and occasionally dancing behind the line of scrimmage.
  • Does not churn his legs once he has been hit and does not generate much yardage after contact.
  • May not be seen by many teams as capable of contributing at running back; he could be more of a gadget player to some.
  • Not good in short-yardage situations due to lack of size and power and cannot push the pile forward.
  • A very limited blocker due to his size; he can be overwhelmed in pass protection
  • Has extremely small hands, measuring only 8.125".
  • Long-term durability could be a concern. He missed four games in 2013 due to an ankle injury and never looked the same after returning.


Rushing Statistics
Receiving Statistics


Personal Notes

  • Honorable mention All-Pac-12 2012.
  • First-team All-Pac-12 kick returner 2011.
  • Pac-12 co-Offensive Freshman of the Year 2011.
  • Averaged 25.8 yards per kick return in college, returning four for touchdowns.
  • His nickname is the "Black Mamba."
  • Family and human services major.


Ratings Chart



Among college football’s most dynamic players, De’Anthony Thomas made the decision to forgo his senior season to enter the NFL draft. A versatile and electric playmaker capable of catching the ball and returning kicks or punts, he could have immediate value to a team. One concern, however, is that he is too small to play the role he did at Oregon and is simply a gadget player without a true NFL position. Still, he possesses a skill set that, if used correctly, could allow him to become one of the league’s more exciting weapons.


Draft Projection: 4th-5th Round