Name: Mike Thomas
Born: August 16, 1994 (21 years old)
Position: Wide receiver
Pro Team: Los Angeles Rams
College Team: Southern Miss
Draft Status: Sixth round, 206th overall
- Height: 6’1”
- Weight: 200 lbs
- 40 Time: 4.45
- Bench Press: 16 reps
- Vertical Jump: 36”
- Broad Jump: 131”
- Short Shuttle: 4.29
- 3 Cone Drill: 7.06
- Creates separation despite lacking high-end athleticism
- Fantastic at the point of the catch
- Aggressive and effective after the catch
- Makes highlight reel catches regularly
- Catches the ball naturally with soft hands
- Highly effective outside, over the middle, out of the slot…from everywhere really
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- Struggles against the press due to inconsistent technique
- Too many drops, likely due to concentration
- So-so athleticism leads to concern about ability to separate at the next level
- Only two years of FBS experience
Opportunity abound with that motley crew of receivers in St. Louis. A quick glance at the depth chart reads like a who’s who of players who should be in the mix for the third or fourth receiver slot on a real NFL franchise. Tavon Austin is as safe as you can be for playing time, but after that there aren’t a ton of guarantees:
- Kenny Britt is fine, but wouldn’t be a road block to a superior player.
- Brian Quick hasn’t been able to put it together and can’t seem to get a legit chance under Jeff Fisher.
- Pharoh Cooper seems to do many of the things Austin does. Due to him likely being restricted to the slot, Cooper likely doesn’t profile as a huge threat to Thomas.
The rest of the group is made up of guys who don’t belong (Bradley Marquez, Paul McRoberts) and a rookie who looks great in shorts and the weight room, but is probably destined for the practice squad at best (Marquez North).
In order to be relevant, Thomas will have to either push Britt and hope Quick fails or impress enough to inspire the Rams to let both of the veterans walk when their contracts expire after this season. He will also have to hope Cooper doesn’t prove the naysayers wrong and show he can play outside.
But, if I’m being honest, there aren’t any real long term threats at all as long as Thomas can learn to beat the press more effectively.
For the 2016 season I’m not expecting much. Thomas isn’t likely to push Britt, especially considering Fisher’s penchant for vets over rookies, and Cooper’s draft pedigree will likely give him precedence. Regardless of who starts where, the Rams have a rookie quarterback, a stud running back, and the most conservative coach in the northern hemisphere.
I am a pretty strong believer Thomas can overcome his issues versus the press and that he will be able to separate against NFL corners. With those being the two most obvious question marks surrounding the youngster, I see him as a high floor, low ceiling WR2/3 type in the NFL.
My expectations are for him to start as early as 2017, giving owners seasons similar to what Kamar Aiken did last year. If he achieves that level of production, it will be a huge victory for the sixth rounder.
NFL Player Comparison
The aforementioned Aiken is a pretty good comp. They share similar size and athletic profiles, the ability to play on the left, right, or out of the slot, and both always seem to be open. If you like Aiken, you’ll love Thomas.
Rookie Draft Advice
Currently languishing somewhere in the top of the third round of rookie drafts, Thomas is a tremendous value. I have zero issue taking him in the mid-second, ahead of Braxton Miller, Tajae Sharpe, and Malcolm Mitchell among others.
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Jeff, thank you (and all of the other writers) for sharing your analysis and opinions. It’s probably feels thankless at times, because you put your opinions out there for everyone to see, but might only hear from those who disagree. That’s not what my comment is about…
I’m surprised at how subjective the writers can be with terms that appear to have some objectivity available to them, especially when it comes to “athleticism”. For instance, you describe MT as having “so-so athleticism”, but the very next article on Chris Moore describes him as “good overall athleticism and size”. I wrote both guys measurements side by side. If anything, MT might be a little ahead of CM, but it’s very close. However, the adjectives used in the describing them are much farther apart. Watching the clips, I see more athleticism and burst from MT, but I might be biased since I’m a USM grad (full disclosure).
This is why the articles that include the graphs allow us (and the writer) to see the data more objectively.