When the Kansas City Chiefs selected, De’Anthony Thomas in the 4th round of the 2014 NFL draft, an overwhelming feeling of relief settled in. At that point, every0ne was holding their breath, waiting for the Chiefs to take a receiver and instead, they drafted an X-factor. Here’s what Nolan Nawrocki of NFL.com had to say about Thomas before the draft,
“A deluxe, specialty back and potential slot receiver with game-breaking return ability, Thomas can be an explosive mismatch weapon in multiple facets of the game. Diminutive stature will decrease the odds he’ll be able to stay healthy in the pros, and his commitment to the game will dictate his future success.”
Thomas brings an element to the Chiefs that we haven’t had since Dante Hall. Granted, they tried to bring in a player with similar skills in Dexter McCluster but, we all know how that worked out.
While McCluster did show flashes of being a dynamic playmaker but, he never lived up to his 2nd round selection. Career wise, McCluster has only caught 172 receptions for 1,500 yards and 5 touchdowns. That’s over a four year time span!
Kansas City’s offense is starved for a receiving threat to compliment Jamaal Charles, and De’Anthony Thomas could finally be what they’re looking for. He is a little guy, so we’ll have to see if he can get separation from NFL defensive backs but, it’s his return skills that I think could make him the new X-Factor in KC.
In 2012, Thomas became the first Oregon player in 47 years to score a touchdown rushing, receiving, returning a punt and returning a kickoff in the same season in 13 games (nine starts). He also holds Oregon career records for kickoff return yards (1,885) and punt return average (17.1). The kid can literally score from anywhere on the football field at any time.
I remember Oregons 2012 Fiesta Bowl victory over the Kansas State Wildcats. Thomas took the opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown and it seemed like he went end zone-to-end zone in less than two seconds. Imagine what special teams coordinator, Dave Toub, could make happen with this kid.
Which brings up the other point. The Chiefs finished first overall in average kickoff return (29.9 yards, an NFL record), punts inside the 20 (35) and points scored (30). Add De’Anthony Thomas’s speed to that mix and you might see even better results.
Needless to say, I’m excited to see this kid run in the red and gold and I feel like he could end up being one of the best picks in the John Dorsey era. De’Anthony Thomas could be the Chiefs new X-Factor.
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