Charlie Riedel/Associated Press
When the Chiefs selected De'Anthony Thomas in the 2014 NFL draft they hoped they were getting a dual-threat weapon who would create matchup nightmares from various positions.
Judging by his early work during camp, that's exactly what the Chiefs got. Thomas has been equally impressive as both a runner and receiver.
Terez A. Paylor of The Kansas City Star has detailed a few examples of Thomas' early brilliance:
Rookie running back De’Anthony Thomas kicked off 7-on-7 drills by making a nice catch on a pass thrown behind him.
Thomas showed off his quickness and toughness as a runner, as he repeatedly took handoffs, exploded through crevices in the defense and bounced back up after a few shots from bigger players. He also showed off his versatility as a receiver, as he hauled in a deep pass from Alex Smith in team drills. Thomas beat cornerback Justin Rogers on the play, then ran through a tackle by safety Malcolm Bronson.
The early indications are that Thomas is ticketed for a big role in this season's offense. Reid has always dedicated plenty of pages in his playbook to running backs who can also catch the ball.
It's too soon to christen Thomas a Jamaal Charles clone, but he does show traits of becoming a Darren Sproles-style weapon. The important thing will be the favorable matchups he creates for Reid and Pederson to exploit, along with the headaches he'll cause defensive coordinators.
As a receiver, Thomas will be impossible for linebackers to track. He'll be a major threat for screens, something Reid is a master at designing.
Thomas has also proved that he can pop up and catch passes in deep zones. That's something that will make him a great blitz-beater out of the backfield.
He can have just as much of an impact as a running back. His sudden burst and lightning speed on inside runs can be great assets in multiple-receiver spread sets designed to spread front-seven defenders across the field.
Thomas is sure to be a vital part of this season's schemes. He'll be the roving "Joker" few defenses successfully account for.
It's an important role and a lot of responsibility for a rookie. But the early signs are positive that Thomas can handle the pressure.
In fact, Chiefs fans and coaches should be encouraged an offense short of standout playmakers is getting so many exciting auditions from youngsters during camp.
A fully healthy defense will be strong again, but this offense has the potential to surprise a few people if one or two extra big-play threats emerge.