WR #3 Michael Thomas, Ohio St.*

6’3” – 210 lbs. – 4.50e

Appeared in a limited capacity over eleven games as a true freshman, catching just three passes. Led the team in receptions the following year, starting fourteen of fifteen games played as a sophomore; reprised his starting role as a junior. Tall, well-built wideout with long limbs. Lines up on the outside for the Buckeyes, with snaps fairly evenly distributed between the left and right; didn’t slide inside to the slot during the games reviewed. Can release effectively at the line of scrimmage versus press coverage; good hand use. Runs routes to all different levels of the field, typically at the short to intermediate levels. Willing to work the middle of the field; runs a lot of shallow crosses, although he wasn’t targeted there during review. Doesn’t work the sidelines as often as most boundary receivers, but is called upon to run some comeback routes. Overall tree could be best described as fairly simple, with whip routes being the only other common observation. Sells fakes well, with relatively polished footwork which allows him to create separation out of his breaks. Not a burner, but can find his way behind the secondary from time to time, using head-fakes and stutter-steps to throw defenders off. Draws a lot of pass-interference calls down the field. Makes some effort when he’s able to shield defenders from the ball with his body, but doesn’t compete particularly hard in fifty-fifty situations, looking for flags instead. Capable of creating some yards after the catch, with a fairly direct style, if not an overwhelmingly physical one; will break the occasional tackle. Not the type of player who’s the focal point of his team’s gameplan; won’t be fed screens all day. As a blocker, however, is not particularly physical or aggressive. Inconsistent blocking effort; gives effort to begin some plays, but often gives up before the whistle and looks content to watch. On more egregious snaps, gets out of the way of pursuing defenders when he’s in position to make a play. Success against some top cornerback prospects helps his cause, although his temperament and lack of willingness to block will turn off some teams. A difficult player to overlook because of his production, size-speed ratio, and big-play potential, but who can disappear for long stretches of the game and who relies on the occasional big play for the bulk of his production. A finesse wide receiver who can challenge defenses downfield, Thomas may be best suited as a number-two receiver at the pro level, although his inconsistent effort level makes him a somewhat risky prospect.

Games watched: Michigan (’14), Michigan St. (’14), Virginia Tech (’15)

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