Thomas played in 14 games in 2014, splitting them between right guard, left guard and right tackle. His play was atrocious at all three of the positions.
One could make the argument that Thomas played out of position at right tackle, which explains his poor performance. This argument was made by Zach Ragan of the Fansided site All for Tennessee, who urged Dolphins fans to cut Thomas some slack and "let the man play his position before you pass judgement."
We saw Thomas play his position, and while he didn't allow a sack, the numbers still don't look good.
At guard, Thomas was underwhelming, grading out at minus-12.5, per Pro Football Focus. Splitting that up between the right and left guard positions, Thomas was a minus-six on the right side (where he'd play this season) and a minus-6.5 as a left guard in relief of Daryn Colledge while he was out with a migraine and back injury from Week 8 to Week 10.
Thomas shifted over to right tackle after Branden Albert's injury forced Ja'Wuan James to take over at left tackle. It was there that Thomas was at his worst, grading out at minus-20.3 in five games.
|Dallas Thomas Pro Football Focus Grades|
|Position||Run Block||Pass Block||Overall||Sacks Allowed|
|Pro Football Focus|
In 2015, Thomas is being projected as Miami's starting right guard, per Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post. However, he will face plenty of competition in camp.
Fourth-round pick Jamil Douglas, who on Ourlads' Dolphins depth chart is now listed as the starting right guard, has a good chance at taking Thomas' job. Douglas played both left tackle and left guard at Arizona State, and as James Walker of ESPN.com noted, he showed "solid strength and the ability to hold at the point of attack," which Walker saw as "weaknesses for the Dolphins' interior offensive line in the past."
Of course, Thomas was one of those interior offensive line players who failed to show that. But it only gets worse for the former Volunteer.
Based on the statements made by the Sun-Sentinel's Omar Kelly on the May 26 episode of the Mark Hochman Show with Zach Krantz on 560 WQAM in Miami, things aren't looking up for Thomas: "Dallas Thomas, it’s not looking so good. I saw Jordan Phillips manhandle him a couple of times. It just makes me a little queasy."
Jordan Phillips was not only Miami's second-round draft pick, but he was also a player who Pro Football Focus described as "a raw player that needs to develop a plan on how to take on blockers."
Thomas will have chances to redeem himself throughout training camp. He'll get plenty of reps with the first team, where he'll face off against a Miami Dolphins defensive line with the potential to be dominant.
It shouldn't be too much to ask that he "hold his own" against said defensive line, but keep in mind that last season, Abramson of the Palm Beach Post wrote that Thomas "struggled so much on Saturday that the Dolphins have to consider moving him out of the starting lineup."
This was after one game where he was dominated by Gerald McCoy. Ndamukong Suh is one of the few defensive tackles in the NFL who are better than McCoy, and Thomas will have to play well against him every day in order to keep his job.
By job, I don't just mean his starting job, but also his job with the Dolphins, as nearly a year later Abramson recently pointed out that Thomas is on the roster bubble, saying: "Thomas has been subpar at both guard and tackle and it remains to be seen if the 2013 third-round pick can ever play at a starting-caliber level."
Abramson added: "If Thomas fails to win a starting job, the Dolphins—who have continued to praise Thomas’ development—might decide it’s time to move on."
The good news is, as Walker of ESPN.com reports, Thomas is working on getting stronger. Last season, he changed his diet to help get him stronger and in better shape, and he is entering Year 2 of said diet.
"Everything I did was predicated on getting bigger and stronger," Thomas explained to Walker. "Right now I'm showing everything I did in the offseason. The development of becoming an offensive lineman, you have to get bigger and stronger every year."
Thomas is also aware of the outside noise stemming from the criticism of his play by fans and the media, saying:
I can really care less what outside people have to say, because they don't know what goes on in house. They're just listening to what [other] people say from the outside and Twitter and all that. So you don't pay attention to that.
Your coaches tell you what you need to do, what you need to work on and how to be a professional.
So far, it's safe to say that Thomas has the right mentality going forward, knowing he has to step up and knowing what he has to do in order to do so.
Miami is weak at guard, and it will need multiple players to step up in order to correct that weakness. Thomas, by virtue of having the most experience on the team while playing the worst, has the most pressure on him out of any player.
The possibility also exists that the pressure only gets worse, too, especially if this comes to fruition.
Advanced statistics provided by Pro Football Focus unless otherwise noted.