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New England Patriots Rookie Profile: Jeff Thomas

The Patriots were able to sign one of the most controversial players from the undrafted free agent pool this year.
  • Position: wide receiver
  • Hometown: East St. Louis, Ill
  • College: Miami

Measurables

  • Height: 5-foot-9
  • Weight: 170 pounds
  • Arms: 30 3/8 inches
  • Hands: 8 3/8 inches 

Combine Results

  • 40-yard dash: 4.45 seconds
  • Vertical jump: 36.5 inches
  • Broad jump: 125.0 inches

Jeff Thomas may very well be the most controversial player that went undrafted this year. 

Thomas' ability as a receiver is unquestioned. He's an explosive athlete with the ability to win underneath in the slot, while also blowing the top off a defense. He has tremendous after the catch, he can track the ball smoothly downfield, and he has the potential to be deadly in the NFL as a returner. However, his stats from college don't reflect his ability.

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During his three-year stint at Miami, he accumulated 83 receptions for 1,316 yards and eight touchdowns. Last season, he mustered up just 31 catches for 379 yards and three touchdowns. While the inconsistencies on offense - specifically at quarterback - at Miami didn't work in Thomas' favor, his character concerns and worth ethic didn't help either. 

In 2018, Thomas was kicked off the team. However, after a coaching change this past season, he was persuaded to come back, although he did have to serve a suspension midway through the 2019 season. Here is what The Athletic's Dane Brugler wrote about Thomas in his 2020 Draft Guide:

"He likes to play football, but isn’t necessarily interested in all the work, practice and preparation that goes on between games..."

If Thomas' attitude doesn't change, then he won't make it through August in New England. Although he is undoubtedly the most talented rookie receiver the Patriots brought in this offseason, talent doesn't trump character, especially inside the confines of Gillette Stadium. But if he is able to prove that his rough days down in Miami are behind him and he is ready to put in the work, he can carve out a role for himself in New England. 

Although his frame is very small, Thomas could be a return specialist this year for New England, while also earning snaps on offense in place of Julian Edelman. Thomas is the type of spark plug the Patriots are missing on offense, but he has a lot to prove outside of gameday if he wants to earn playing time - and more importantly - make the 53-man roster.