Daniel Thomas, RB, Kansas State, 6’0 230
Strengths: The first thing you will notice when watching Thomas is his great size. At 6’0 230 lbs, Thomas was able to handle a heavy workload at K-State while being extremely productive. Daniel Thomas in 2009 ran for 1265 yards and 11 touchdowns, and in 2010 ran for 1585 yards and an incredible 19 touchdowns. That combined with his 52 receptions over 2 years speaks for itself. Thomas rushed for over 100 yards in 7 of his 12 games played in 2010, going for more than 180 yards in 3 of those games. 8 games he carried the rock 21 times or more, showing his workhorse ability. In each of his 2 seasons he averaged more than 5 yards per carry.
As a prospect, Daniel Thomas has the 3 things you want in an NFL running back; 1) size 2) speed and 3) versatility. Thomas runs behind his pads between the tackles and is very difficult to bring down. He is a smart runner, who patiently allows his blocks to develop. As the game wears on, Thomas seems to gain steam and play at even higher levels. He also has great body control for being such a big runner, and could be an instant plug in as a goal line back for an NFL team. Once a quarterback, Daniel Thomas also has shown effectiveness running the Wildcat offense. His open field moves combined with his size make him a tough runner to bring down.
With the NFL now being a pass-oriented league, it is essential that teams have running backs that can catch the ball. Perhaps, the most underappreciated aspect of Daniel Thomas as a player is his ability to catch the football and contribute in the passing game. Very soft hands out of the backfield, Daniel Thomas can even be seen lining up on the outside running routes. Not only can he help a team by providing the power running skills, but Thomas also can get out and be productive in the pass game.
Weaknesses: The biggest knock on Thomas has to be his initial first few steps toward the LOS. He isn’t particularly explosive when coming up to the LOS. Thomas needs to improve his acceleration to the line or else he will get hit in the backfield in the NFL. Another problem is Thomas’ tendency to be a bit upright running outside the tackles, which makes him a much easier tackle below the waist.
Best Fit: Thomas would be an excellent fit in Miami, toting the rock 20-25 times a game, and running the Wildcat. Should Mark Ingram not be available, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Dolphins trade back into the early second round or late first round range to draft Daniel Thomas.
Other fits include New York Giants, Cincinnati Bengals, and Washington Redskins among others.
X-Factor: Due to a left hamstring injury, Daniel Thomas was unable to perform at either the Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL, or the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. How much of the momentum he built in 2010 is still in the minds of scouts and GMs in the league? Will teams lower him on their RB boards simply because he was injured? Is this injury going to linger? These questions and their answers will be very telling in where Thomas gets draft, and ultimately will decide whether Thomas is drafted in round 1 or round 3.
Where will he be drafted: 2nd to 3rd Round
Where should he be drafted: 2nd Round
NFL Comparison: Larry Johnson, RB, KC Chief, Cincinnati Bengal, and Washington Redskin, Currently a FA
Daniel Thomas vs. Kansas (09)
Daniel Thomas highlights