Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has never shied away from using smaller, faster players in unconventional ways, and the temptation to take Oregon running back/receiver/return man De'Anthony Thomas in the fourth round was too great to resist. Standing 5-foot-9 and 174 pounds, Thomas gained 1,890 yards rushing, 1,296 yards receiving and over 2,000 return yards in three years with the Ducks, cementing his status as one of the most exciting college players in the nation. Tremendously explosive and elusive, Thomas could be a real thriller in the NFL if he's in the right offense. The Chiefs decided that they'd see what he could do with the 124th overall pick.
When asked at the combine whether he was a running back or receiver, Thomas answered definitively.
“Yes. I can play receiver. I can play running back. Kick return. Punt return. I just want to contribute.”
Thomas has been at his best in big games -- the 2012 Rose Bowl and the 2013 Fiesta Bowl are but two examples -- and it's possible that Reid could use him as he used DeSean Jackson in Philly. Put him in motion and let him burn cornerbacks all day. Thomas talked about that comparison in February, as he and Jackson are friends.
“Me and DeSean, he’s from Long Beach, I’m from South Central Los Angeles," Thomas said. "We grew up in the same area but I feel like we’re two different styles of people. I learned a lot from him, just seeing him go from Cal to the Eagles. It was a great opportunity to see him doing that. Now, I feel like it’s my time to execute and do the same thing.”