De'Anthony Thomas from Oregon may come with some concern over where he might ultimately fit in at the NFL level, but that didn't prevent the Kansas City Chiefs from taking a chance on him.
The Chiefs selected Thomas in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL draft, as Bleacher Report shared on Twitter:
Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas goes 124th to the Kansas City Chiefs pic.twitter.com/G8kfK1Qo3T— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 10, 2014
If nothing else, Thomas guarantees the Chiefs one thing—speed, speed and more speed. With Jamaal Charles already terrorizing opposing defenses both with the run and in the screen game, Thomas will serve as yet another speed threat teams have to worry about.
During his time with the Ducks, all Thomas did was show off his explosiveness to the tune of 1,890 rushing yards and 1,296 receiving yards during his three years. That production made him a hot commodity, but an injury midway through the 2013 season caused his numbers to drop off.
After returning from a four-game hiatus, Thomas saw a dramatic dip in his production, as he rushed for less than 35 yards in four of his final six games. That he scored just three touchdowns during that stretch made some scouts a little wary of which player they potentially would be getting.
During his pro day, Thomas flashed his agility yet again with an unofficial 4.39 40-yard dash, which had scouts drooling once again, per Rob Moseley of GoDucks.com:
Scout next to me on DAT's second 40 yard dash, "That's the Black Mamba we know". - BJ.— Rob Moseley (@DuckFootball) March 13, 2014
Thomas was clearly one of the most talented players in the college ranks over the last few seasons, but he saw his draft stock fall dramatically over the course of the offseason.
Thomas talked about being impatient to be drafted on Saturday morning:
Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead points out that the former Oregon speedster even dropped completely off the radar for a few franchises:
Nobody's plummeted in this NFL Draft like De'Anthony Thomas (Oregon). A few teams have him completely off their board.— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) April 17, 2014
NFL draft analyst Mike Mayock provides his thoughts on what type of system Thomas needs to play in, per Chase Goodbread of NFL.com:
Because of his speed and playmaking ability, in today's NFL he's more valuable than he would have been six, eight, 10 years ago. He probably goes in the fourth-round area. ... 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?
He might have found that with the Chiefs. Whether he lines up as a running back or wide receiver, Kansas City, along with many other teams in the league, have a need for explosive playmakers to change the game with one possession, as they relied heavily on Charles to shoulder the load a season ago.
In fact, his pass-catching abilities project so well at pro level that Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network believes he should be slotted as a wide receiver in the league, via NFL Network on Twitter:
Along with his multi-faceted skills as a tailback and wideout, Thomas also has the speed to play special teams. Given the chance to shine as a punt or kickoff specialist, the former Duck might contribute immediately as a rookie with a few touchdowns in the return game.
Despite his size at just 5'9", 174 pounds, the Chiefs gave him a chance. And with volatile speed and enough versatility to set up in the backfield or outside the numbers, expect Thomas to show that for Kansas City as soon as the 2014 season.
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