Arizona Wide Receiver Mike Thomas
When Torry Holt, Mike Walker, Dennis Northcutt and Troy Williamson round out your wide receiver corps, adding a new threat through the draft is key. The Jaguars selected Arizona Wide Receiver Mike Thomas with the 107th overall pick in the 4th round.
Thomas is a different sort of receiver for the Jaguars, he's shorter and faster than the "Basketball team on grass" that the last group, he's a short and speedy threat that set records for both Arizona and the Pac-10.
Mike Thomas: By the Numbers:
Mike Thomas is about as safe as a draft pick gets. He ensures that "safety" with his punt return ability. He projects as a top punt returner, a position Seattle could easily upgrade at. Great punt returners can be worth two touchdowns over average over a season. A good punt returner is still valuable and would still contribute at a decent clip for a third rounder, and that's about Thomas' floor: good punt returner.
Thomas could be a great wide receiver. He has the short, squatty build of Wes Welker or Steve Smith, and is arguably a better athlete than either. He's also shorter than either - somewhat significantly. Thomas is under 5'8". And that's really the essence of any critique against him. He's really, really short. He's the all-time receptions leader in Pac-10 history, but he's really, really short. He can slam dunk a basketball or outrun Percy Harvin, which is impressive, because Thomas is really, really short and has really, really short legs. He's a crisp route runner that gets monster separation, has the kind of open-field moves, speed, agility and body control to turn almost any pattern into a home run, and is known for his high character, hard work and good hands, but he's real-
It's not that his height doesn't matter, it's just how much does his height matter? He's never going to be Randy Moss, of that we can be certain. There are some patterns he won't excel at, and therefore he's not the complete wide receiver prospect like Calvin Johnson. He's not the prototypical wide receiver, but that's kind of the point. Were Thomas four inches taller, he'd probably be a top ten pick. He certainly played better, longer against top competition than Jeremy Maclin, and he certainly rates better in skills and tools than Maclin, too. So what's to say Thomas couldn't be Welker, Smith, Deion Branch or Santana Moss? Is that too short of a ceiling for a third round pick?
Scouting Reports: NFL Draft Scout:
Positives: Short, but has a strong, surprisingly think frame. Good initial burst off the snap and can quickly eat up the cushion if unchallenged at the line of scrimmage. Can sink his hips and shows good immediate burst out of his breaks. Good toughness as a receiver and returner. Not afraid of contact and will go over the middle or attack the seam as a returner with reckless abandon. Good vision for the cutback and sets up his blocks well. Soft hands for the reception. Can pluck outside of his frame. Good body control to make extend and make the tough catch. Short, but times his leaps well. Returned two punts as a senior -- his first year as a returner. Solid week of practice at the Senior Bowl. Well suited to moving inside to the slot position.
Negatives: Will be limited to a slot position in the NFL, as he lacks the size and strength to play outside. More quick than fast. Good timed speed, but lacks the top end speed to consistently beat defenders over the top. Prone to lapses in concentration and drops more passes than he should. Production is inflated due to Arizona's spread offense and lack of surrounding playmakers throughout much of Thomas' career.
2005: Suffered fractured bones in his forehand vs. Washington (11/12) and underwent surgery to have screws inserted. Despite wearing a cast, he was back in the starting lineup the following game vs. Arizona State.
2006: Suffered a high ankle sprain in the season opener vs. Brigham Young (9/02) and the injury lingered for more than a month.
I like the pick. More to come.