Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State
6’3 210 lbs
Thomas is the classic example of wasted potential. He’s a true NFL receiver with dominant traits who has the ability to run a full route tree and the savvy and athleticism to dominate against both man and zone.
However, he was criminally underused in the Ohio State offense by quarterbacks incapable of putting him in favorable positions consistently. It’s very clear that defenses respected his immense ability as he constantly drew flags and double coverage.
Still, there are a couple of knocks on Thomas’ game: he has uneven hands, especially on contested balls and he doesn’t seem to have the demeanor or swagger of a number one receiver.
He’s also an extremely skilled blocker.
Hands: 14 out of 20
Thomas shows the ability to catch nearly any ball when he’s coming back to it. When running away from the ball, he shows much more inconsistency. While he’s willing to fight through contact. He doesn’t use his superior frame and athleticism nearly well enough to go up and snag contested balls.
Route Running: 17 out of 20
His route running isn’t quite razor-sharp, but it’s adequate to create separation and he shows the ability to read zones and sit in the soft spots to make a QB-friendly target.
Blocking: 14 out of 15
Thomas consistently shines in blocking situations, springing runners for big gains several times per game. He shows incredible latching ability and awareness to disengage at the right time. He’s, however, not quite aggressive enough if the play is shifting away from him.
Athleticism: 14 out of 15
I fully expect Thomas to be among the leaders at the position at the combine. He clearly has excellent long-speed and agility. Though he doesn’t use it often, he also has excellent jumping ability. The main problem is he doesn’t often use these traits to dominate competition like one would expect.
Run after catch: 14 out of 15
Look no further than a hitch Thomas took to the house against Rutgers. He slid between two defenders and delivered a punishing stiff-arm to spring free for the touchdown. On that play, he showed all the major traits: speed, power and vision, which will allow him to dominate on the next level with the ball in his hands.
Size: 9 out of 10
He’s big and tall, ideal for his position, though he could stand to add a bit more weight in his legs, he looks a little bit lanky at times.
Body Control: 3 out of 5
Though he shows strong ability to break tackles with proper pad level through contact, he’s not able to contort his body in ways that allow him to win on downfield throws.
TOTAL PROSPECT RATING: 85 out of 100
NFL Comparison: Julio Jones, WR, Falcons
He may be one of the best receivers in the league, but Thomas has nearly an identical frame with the same combination of athleticism, strength, savvy and crisp route-running that has made Jones such a matchup nightmare. Thomas must improve his hands and ability to win the contested catch, but could have a Jones-like impact.