Birthdate: June 4, 1987
Height/Weight: 5 7" 7/8"/195
College: Arizona, 48 games played
Career Stats: 259 receptions, 3231 yards, 22 TDs, 45 rushes, 395 yards, 3 TDs, 30 punt returns, 391 yards, 2 TDs
My Take: If you want to be a successful GM in the National Football League, you need to be lucky, accurate or have an angle. Lucky and accurate might be interchangeable. If we consider the total number of draft picks a GM selects in a career, and how many stars and busts it takes to separate a good GM from a bad GM, one could imagine an entire legacy founded on good timing and guessing right. The best find some sort of angle. Tim Ruskell has a reputation for targeting players undervalued because of their size. It has produced many of his best picks.
Mike Thomas is about as safe as a draft pick gets. He ensures that "safety" with his punt return ability. He projects as a top punt returner, a position Seattle could easily upgrade at. Great punt returners can be worth two touchdowns over average over a season. A good punt returner is still valuable and would still contribute at a decent clip for a third rounder, and that's about Thomas' floor: good punt returner.
Thomas could be a great wide receiver. He has the short, squatty build of Wes Welker or Steve Smith, and is arguably a better athlete than either. He's also shorter than either - somewhat significantly. Thomas is under 5'8". And that's really the essence of any critique against him. He's really, really short. He's the all-time receptions leader in Pac-10 history, but he's really, really short. He can slam dunk a basketball or outrun Percy Harvin, which is impressive, because Thomas is really, really short and has really, really short legs. He's a crisp route runner that gets monster separation, has the kind of open-field moves, speed, agility and body control to turn almost any pattern into a home run, and is known for his high character, hard work and good hands, but he's real-
It's not that his height doesn't matter, it's just how much does his height matter? He's never going to be Randy Moss, of that we can be certain. There are some patterns he won't excel at, and therefore he's not the complete wide receiver prospect like Calvin Johnson. He's not the prototypical wide receiver, but that's kind of the point. Were Thomas four inches taller, he'd probably be a top ten pick. He certainly played better, longer against top competition than Jeremy Maclin, and he certainly rates better in skills and tools than Maclin, too. So what's to say Thomas couldn't be Welker, Smith, Deion Branch or Santana Moss? Is that too short of a ceiling for a third round pick?
Targets as Percent of All Pass Attempts: 28%