Rookie Spotlight: Racean “Roc” Thomas, Jacksonville State University
Height: 5’ 11’’ (unofficial)
Weight: 195 lbs (unofficial)
40 yard dash:
NFL Comparison: Kenyan Drake, Andre Ellington
– quick to the edge
– rarely goes down on first contact
– excellent lateral agility
– great open field speed
– experience in the slot
– ineffective blocker
Scouting Notes: I thought Thomas was a bigger back than he is when I first saw him on tape, as he runs more upright and takes longer strides than most smaller backs tend to. I realized he was a more undersized back when I noticed that he rarely runs between the tackles, most often heading towards the edge before he does his damage. He’s elusive to an extreme degree, regularly deflecting contact a handful of times before going down. Possessing razor-blade lateral agility and premier open field speed, Thomas looks more like a receiver at times – It’s no surprise he was being transitioned to slot-receiver at Auburn before he transferred in 2016. I was surprised to see him end up playing for Jacksonville State, considering his pedigree as arguably the best high school back in Alabama before signing with Auburn – where he lost the starting job when he went down to a foot injury and never made his way back up the depth chart. It made more sense when I found out that his former high school coach is now the head coach at Jacksonville, making it a productive reunion. With 1,226 all-purpose yards and 12 TDs, Thomas was the Ohio Valley Conferences’ player of the year in 2017 and a FCS Second Team All-American two times running in has two years at Jacksonville.
Patient for his blocks and a significant threat in the passing game, Thomas is a potent weapon with the ball in hands, despite not being the most powerful of runners. His biggest knocks are that he’s way undersized at sub 200 lbs and then unsurprisingly that he’s not an effective blocker for the most part, though he makes an effort. He can add weight on the next level, but there’s always the chance that he loses pop and elusiveness if he does so.
Fantasy Outlook: Thomas reminds me of Kenyan Drake, another smaller back who had all the big playmaking tools but just didn’t seem to have enough “umph” to be a successful 3-down back in the NFL. We now know that just isn’t true in regards to Drake, but the verdict is still out on Thomas, who lost who starting spot to Peyton Barber at Auburn – The same Peyton Barber who has done little to impress at the next level, though I suppose he did unseat Doug Martin. Thomas’ stock could rise with a strong combine showing, but the fact that he played at a small school and his small size will keep teams at bay. He could get taken in the mid-rounds though by a team that knows how to utilize a player with his skill set. I personally am excited about his NFL prospects, and he’ll be high on my dynasty draft flyers come this fall.