Editor’s Note: As our coverage of the 2016 NFL Draft and its impact on fantasy football continues, we bring you our 2016 Rookie SWOT series. These articles will feature video highlights, combine reviews, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, short-term expectations, long-term expectations and rookie draft advice for over 30 of the best dynasty league prospects from this year’s draft. We’ll follow that up with team-by-team draft reviews because, you know, that’s kind of what we live for.
Make sure you’re ready for your dynasty league rookie draft by staying up on all these articles, checking out our rookie draft guide, rookie rankings, rookie draft cheat sheet and mock draft rooms. There are simply no better resources out there for dynasty fantasy football enthusiasts.
Name: Michael Thomas
Position: Wide Receiver
Pro Team: New Orleans Saints
College Team: Ohio State
Draft Status: Second Round, #47 overall
- Height: 6′ 3″ (78th percentile)
- Weight: 212 (75th percentile)
- Arm Length: 32⅛” (53rd percentile)
- Hand Size: 10½” (97th percentile)
- 10 Yard Dash: 1.55 (56th percentile)
- 40 Yard Dash: 4.57 (29th percentile)
- Bench Press: 18 (75th percentile)
- Vertical Jump: 35″ (41st percentile)
- Broad Jump: 126″ (82nd percentile)
- 3 Cone Drill: 6.80 (74th percentile)
- 20 Yard Shuttle: 4.13 (72nd percentile)
- 60 Yard Shuttle: 11.70 (18th percentile)
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- Route Running – Thomas is a magician with his feet, constantly showing the ability to flummox defenders with his route running, both before and after the catch.
- After the Catch Ability – His mid tier athleticism translates quite well to his abilities after the catch. Instincts, vision and agility are all evident when watching Thomas.
- Sure Hands – Thomas had arguably the best hands in this class, rarely dropping anything that came his way and showing the away from the body catch that all elite receivers have mastered.
- Concentration – Thomas was privy to taking plays off at Ohio State when he wasn’t involved and that won’t fly in the NFL.
- Consistency – He was redshirted for his sophomore year after failing to memorize the playbook and, while this ended up working out quite well, it isn’t the best sign in the world for Thomas nailing down an NFL playbook and gaining the full playing time he’s entitled to.
- Press Coverage – He has shown signs of struggling against press coverage, which limits his abilities to use footwork and athletic savvy to get open and its something NFL defenses could throw on him in heaps in his rookie season.
The loss of longtime Saints staple Marques Colston this off-season has Thomas in the mix to start alongside Brandin Cooks. He will have to compete with third year UDFA Willie Snead who came seemingly out of nowhere last year and pulled in 69 receptions for 984 yards, yet doesn’t possess the draft pedigree and may have just been a product of timing wit the departure and lack of a second receiver for the Saints. Thomas landed in a great spot for both opportunity and production in New Orleans.
The growth of Mark Ingram as a pass-catcher (career high 50 receptions last year) along with the presence of primary passing backs in CJ Spiller and Travaris Cadet and the signing of tight end Coby Fleener may slide Thomas to the fourth option in the passing game despite being the starting receiver alongside Cooks.
Short Term Expectations
For now, Thomas should be regarded as a player that is well worth an early first round pick, yet may not slide into your starting lineup in year one. It depends on both his ability to transition to the NFL and if his main competition, Snead, can continue to see success as the Saints WR2.
Long Term Expectations
Thomas is in a great spot in New Orleans for long-term success. He is the perfect type of player to supplement Cooks while also seeing his fair share of production. WR1 upside may be a reach but consistent WR2 production is well worth the mid-first round pick it costs to acquire Thomas.
The comparison that instantly comes to mind when thinking of Thomas is Michael Floyd. Both are receivers in the upper height and weight echelons that make up for their lack of speed with athleticism and route running in the short to mid game. Thomas has a chance to redeem dynasty owners for the four-year roller coaster ride that has been owning Michael Floyd, by being a better version of him.
Another player that comes to mind is Michael Crabtree. Both players are sneakily athletic and have the ability to destroy defensive backs after the catch. Thomas’s ball skills along with his college production also evoke Crabtree, one of my favorite college receivers of all time.
Projected Range for a Rookie Draft
Thomas is currently the sixth overall player coming off the board according to DLF’s May ADP and the fifth overall receiver. If we are assuming that the same four players are coming off the board first in your rookie drafts, Thomas could fall anywhere between fifth and tenth depending on how your league mates feel on the four other players grouped in the mid first round tier along with Thomas: Will Fuller, Tyler Boyd, Derrick Henry, and Kenneth Dixon.
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