What’s notable about Thomas is that with those 46 catches, he produced 1,154 yards, averaging a remarkable 25.1 per reception. Those numbers do gain some special attention.
Before entering the NFL draft, Thomas played for — a team that rarely puts the ball in the air. But when the Yellow Jackets’ triple-option offense did use the pass, chances were excellent that the ball was going to Thomas.
Tech threw 168 times last season, an average of only 12 per game. Of the mere 78 completions, Thomas was on the receiving end 59 percent of the time. He caught eight of the Yellow Jackets’ 11 touchdown passes.
His prospects for NFL stardom, however, have been highly in question this winter, as he was not being projected as a first-round selection in the April 22-24 NFL draft. He was not named as one of the top 32 prospects by ESPN’s Scouts Inc., nor mentioned as one of Scout.com’s top 50.
NFL Draft Scout.com. rated Thomas as the No. 49 prospect and the No. 5 wide receiver in its Feb. 5 rankings. But at 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, Thomas has impressive size for a wide receiver. If he can prove that he has ideal NFL speed, his value could skyrocket.
The Strengths of Demaryius Thomas
Thomas is a big, strong guy who can outmuscle and outleap defenders, break tackles and block with great effectiveness. He’s also an explosive runner once he hits stride.
Thomas also has big hands, long reach and good body control. He can’t be compared to Calvin Johnson, the Georgia Tech alum who’s attained NFL stardom after being a No. 2 overall draft pick in 2006, but his overall physical package certainly makes him a possible sleeper selection.
During his solid three-year career at Georgia Tech, Thomas earned praise as a hard worker who responds well to coaching.
The Weaknesses of Demaryius Thomas
The main doubts surrounding Thomas involve his speed. Does he have enough burst to succeed as a pro wide receiver, or should he just bulk up a bit and be a tight end? Reports on his 40-yard dash time were vague entering the NFL combines, ranging from 4.5 to 4.6.
Draft analysts also question Thomas’ route running and his lack of experience in a pro-style offense. They also wonder if his statistics weren’t actually helped by playing two seasons with a run-first team. After all, opposing defenses were very rarely set up to stop the pass.
How Demaryius Thomas Rates Against Other WR Prospects
Thomas makes most lists as one the top 10 wide receiver prospects in the draft, and is sometimes ranked as one of the top five.
Oklahoma State’s Dez Bryant has been a near-unanimous choice as the No. 1 wide receiver, but there’s little agreement over who comes next. USC’s Damian Williams, LSU’s Brandon LaFell and Illinois’ Arrelious Benn have also being highly rated.
The list also includes Notre Dame’s Golden Tate, Cincinnati’s Mardy Gilyard, Texas’ Jordan Shipley, Clemson’s Jacoby Ford, Missouri’s Danario Alexander and Tulane’s Jeremy Williams as well as Thomas.
Thomas’ worth will be enhanced if he can produce a strong performance at the combines, which are scheduled for Feb. 24-March 2 at Indianapolis. Perhaps the most important number could be the time he posts in the 40-yard dash.