Two years ago, anybody would have told you that De’Anthony Thomas was the fastest, most explosive player they had ever seen in College Football. DAT was all the rage. He would leave defenders behind by 20 yards, and continue to separate all the way to the end zone, reminiscent of Chris Johnson circa 2009.
Then, like it does to many prospects, the arduous NFL Draft process took it’s toll on Thomas’ stock. His test times were considered “lackluster”- specifically his 4.50 40 yard dash at the combine he improved to 4.47 at Oregon pro day. Disappointing numbers for a prospect some draft analysts had pegged as possibly a “4.3-kind-of-guy.”
Of course, Thomas was nitpicked to pieces. Small in stature- the season Tavon Austin had last year didn’t help either. So, Thomas fell to the 4th round where the Kansas City Chiefs snatched him up.
Santa Claus Suit Andy Reid clearly saw the opportunity to replace Dexter McCluster with a better player on a cheap rookie contract and it felt like someone left some fresh-baked cookies and milk out for him. It’s a role in the offense Reid has carved out, and apparently intends to keep.
Knowing the Chiefs had this in mind, we drafted Thomas in the last round of our own Expert’s Dynasty Rookie Draft back in May. It’s a PPR league, and we figured Thomas would have added-value as a running back who would likely be catching passes.
As it turns out, the Chiefs have spent a lot of time this offseason putting Thomas through receiver drills. He’s not going to be the handcuff to Jamaal Charles (that is Knile Davis for now) but his value should come from a very specific role in the offensive game plan on a weekly basis. After showing the lightning speed in Week 1 of the preseason that we all remember him for on an electric special teams return touchdown, we were reminded that we like Thomas the most not only in PPR leagues, but also any league that rewards points for special teams production.
In standard format redraft leagues, Thomas is an interesting late-round flier. Dexter McCluster was rostered on occasion last season, and although he’s a rookie who will undoubtedly struggle at times- Thomas is much better than McCluster.