Pros: Has good speed and very good acceleration. Can stretch defenses and a threat to take it the distance almost every time he touches the ball. Has good hands with good concentration. Has nice body control and plays ball well in the air. Is dangerous after the catch when you get him in the open field because of his speed and burst. Shifty and a natural runner that runs with good balance. Dangerous on screens and reverses. Is a capable return threat, that is best on kickoffs because of his straight- line speed and acceleration. Shows willingness and physicality as a blocker, and toughness to go over the middle.
Cons: Lacks size and not an effective player when he lines up on the outside. Dances too much when he gets the ball in space, particularly on screens and reverses. Also does so on punts. Makes some poor decisions fielding the ball, looking for the big play rather than settling for the fair catch. Passionate, but can be overly so at times. Undersized as a blocker and struggles at times in traffic, particularly when he has to get vertical to make grab. Needs to refine his route running. Doesn't always secure the ball before turning upfield after catch.
Overview: He's a solid slot receiver with good potential as a playmaker. I consider him a more physical, but still a poor man's version of DeSean Jackson. He's built much more like a running back. Took two punts back this past year. Production dipped offensively.
NFL Forecast: He'll fit nicely in the slot. At times, he'll show some Steve Smith-like ability, but not sure he'll be the threat on the outside that Smith has developed into. He's a dangerous playmaker, but may lack the polish and consistency to do so as a starter. Not reliable enough at this point that I want him to be my starter, but has the potential to develop there some. More than likely, he'll contribute much more on special teams than on offense. He needs some more polish as a punt returner and needs to learn that not every time he touches the ball he's supposed to score. But he does have that level of potential as a return threat. I think he can be a guy that can consistently give you 40 catches on offense and a score or two on special teams. But there is some Wes Welker potential in him, so that's not his maximum ability.
ATL Forecast: His presence on the roster could free up Douglas and Norwood to contribute more offensively. He could be in the mix by throwing his some screens and reverses on occasion to see if he can provide a spark. He's a similar player to Norwood in that you want to give him at least 5-10 touches (special teams included) because you feel he can score on any one of them. But the current niche that Douglas fills on the team as a slot receiver, occasional runner on reverses, and punt returner is a niche that Thomas probably fits better. He'd either give Douglas the opportunity to move up the depth chart, or would make him obsolete.
Value: Thomas is a solid third round pick for a team looking for a versatile slot receiver and playmaker.
Scouting Reports of wide receivers in the 2009 NFL draft.
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