Perhaps no player will be missed more in 2010 than departing junior wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. A tremendous difference maker on the field as the ACC's leading receiver in 2009 (46 receptions, 1154 yds, 25 yds/catch, 8 TD's), we have a soft spot for BayBay as he stuck with Tech through the coaching change when many told him to abandon ship. We'll always be grateful he stuck it out. BaBay broke his foot last week training for the NFL Combine & will not take part in drills or physical activity after successful surgery yesterday. We wish him a speedy recovery. Here's our take on his NFL prospects. Once again, we'll use former Ravens & Browns scout Daniel Jeremiah's criteria in evaluating BayBay.
Frame: 6'3", 230 pounds
- Release: gets off the line with relative ease due to his superior size & strength. Very difficult to jam. Long strides allow Thomas to get on the defensive back quickly.
- Route Running: the biggest unknown for Thomas. Ran a very limited route tree at Tech which hurts him in the eyes of many scouts. Has very little experience reading defenses & adjusting to different coverages. Tends to "round-off" routes & isn't terribly precise. Shuffles feet on shorter routes & takes too many steps. Will need coaching & time to develop in this area.
- Separation/Suddenness: long strider and thus faster than he appears. Reportedly ran a 4.38 forty in Combine prep. Easily gets on top of DB's & will be able to "stem" them once route running techniques are clarified. Not particularly quick in tight space. The longer the route, the more separation Thomas gets.
- Hands: Extremely powerful, enormous hands. Never lets ball into his body & exhibits good form catching the football. Makes tough catches look easy although occasionally has concentration lapses which let easy balls get by.
- Body Adjustment: terrific in the air. Very good timing & is able to adjust to the ball while in the air; rarely lost a "jump ball" in college. Good hips & can adjust laterally. Doesn't go down to the turf or shoe tops very well for the ball. Uses size to his advantage. Easily screens & shields defenders away from the ball. Will draw penalties as DB's have to go through him to get to the ball.
- Playmaking ability: great in the air. Very tough to tackle; good stiff arm. Will be dynamic in the screen game due to his size. Not shifty or elusive. Will fight through traffic & catch the ball. Has the speed to threaten a defense deep.
- Blocking: highly accomplished & devastating blocker. Enjoys this part of the game & excels at it. Punishing. Hines Ward is a good comparison
It's unfortunate that BayBay hurt himself last week because he really could have leapt up people's draft boards with a strong combine. In fact, his stock was rising as fast as anyone's before the injury. He's physically ready & brings that skill set to the NFL. The only question is his football savvy due to the offense he played in at Tech. With some patience some team will be greatly rewarded. Reminds us of Braylon Edwards with his size & ability to go get the ball in the air & Anquan Boldin with his toughness & aggressiveness. We see BayBay going anywhere from 21st (Bengals) to the mid-third round. Other likely top landing spots would be Ravens (25), Lions (34), or Browns (38). A team that's willing to be patient & let him develop will be rewarded handsomely down the line. One last side note: if BayBay is drafted highly this will greatly help us as it will further dispell the myth that wide receivers can't be successful in our offense. Take that....