Every year in the NFL Draft, there is at least one player that slips off every team’s draft board. Whether it was Tom Brady in the sixth round, Richard Sherman in the fifth, or even Marques Colston waiting until the last round of the draft, All-Pro players are always passed up early and often in the draft.
The speedy junior running back from Oregon is one of the most explosive players in the draft this year. Labeled often as an “offensive weapon,” Thomas’ speed, explosiveness and versatility should make him one of the hottest players on Draft Day; besides, he had a stellar career with Oregon. In three seasons, he ran for more than 1,800 yards with 26 touchdowns; he was a also a threat in the passing game, with more than 1,100 yards and 15 touchdowns in his tenure at Oregon. His best season was under current Eagles coach Chip Kelly‘s final year with Oregon. He rushed for more than 700 yards, averaging an absurd 7.6 yards per carry, with 11 touchdowns. He certainly was the reason Kelly’s offense was one of the most exciting ones in all of college football.
So, with this impressive resume, why is Thomas not on most team’s draft board?
His lack of size has always been a question. Listed at 5-foot-9, 175 pounds, the first tackle Thomas takes at the NFL level could be the last. Injuries have already caused him to miss games in college, missing four games last season. Also, because of his versatility, Thomas’ role in the NFL is unknown. Since he’s not the prototypical, every-down back, Thomas doesn’t have a real position with an NFL offense.
With all this going against him, it might be tough for Thomas to have his name called on Draft Day, right?
If the Eagles hold a late-round draft pick and Thomas is still on the board, Philadelphia could have the steal of the draft.
Thomas would be a great fit in Philadelphia, mainly because of his connection with Kelly. Thomas played for Kelly for two seasons, and Kelly has to be familiar with Thomas’ talents and abilities. In his fast-paced offense, he could definitely find a role for Thomas where he would be most productive. Also, Thomas would be able to flourish in Kelly’s offensive system. Despite having the leading rusher in the NFL, Philadelphia could always add a weapon in the backfield. With Thomas’ versatility and speed, he could even lead the league in rushing someday.
Drafting Thomas could also make up for Philadelphia’s decisions in free agency this season. Two of Philadelphia’s better receivers, Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper, are set to be free agents this season. If the Eagles can’t bring either of them back, Thomas could be an option to fill part of this void. Even though he is listed as a running back, given his wide range of skills, Thomas could easily come in and play slot receiver for Philadelphia. He wouldn’t fill the void left completely, but he would be another weapon the Eagles could have on their roster.
If the Eagles draft Thomas late, given the circumstances and situation, he would be set up to have a great NFL career in Philadelphia.