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In praising fourth-round pick Mike Thomas, the speedy but small receiver out of Arizona drafted No. 107 in the fourth round, Jaguars director of player personnel Terry McDonough shredded a couple of failed first-rounders in the team's recent history.
Others have already concluded the same things.
Still, it is interesting to read these comments which sprouted out of talk about Thomas' speed -- a 4.29 at the combine according to McDonough:
Will he be a slot receiver?
"Yes, he'll be a slot receiver. What we thought last year when we had Reggie (Williams) and Matt (Jones) and all those receivers, we didn't have a guy that could catch it and do anything with it. And the coaches said we need a player that when you throw him the ball, they can get fast quick, and that's what this guy can do. He can get off the spot. He has burst. So we're excited. It'll be a little different than what you guys have seen around here the last couple of years, and he's a lively guy. Where he was, we thought he was probably going to go maybe a round earlier. So he was the top rated player on our board when we got him."
On the change in the wide receiver philosophy:
"What I will say is this kid can run and it's not one of these. We test the guys who are running the fastest but we bring them in here as fast guys but they really weren't fast. They ran fast on the watch. When you guys are out at mini-camp you'll see, this guy is fast. His speed is evident and his speed is quick. Where Matt (Jones) ran that time at Indy but then you never really saw his speed when he was out here, and you really never saw speed with Reggie (Williams) but you'll see speed on this guy."
Why do you think Thomas lasted to the fourth round?
"[He's] 5 foot 8. Those short receivers don't really go that high. And there's been a lot of receivers taken ahead of him, but I think when you're short like that you get pushed down on the board."
Now you have a 5-7 running back in Maurice Jones-Drew with a 5 foot 8 receiver in Thomas:
"If we could get half the results out of this guy that we got out of that running back, we'll be happy."
Scouts Inc. rates Thomas as above average in three of five receiver categories:
Separation: Quick-twitch athlete and polished route runner. Above-average initial burst off the line of scrimmage and eats up cushions quickly. Sticks foot in the ground and explodes off plant foot coming out of breaks. Uses quick feet to beat press coverage can get muscled out of routes by bigger corners.
Run after catch: Explosive open field runner. Elusive and can make defenders miss. However, isn't going to break many tackles.
Competitiveness and toughness: Competitor and shows good overall awareness/instincts. Not afraid to go over the middle and catch the ball in traffic. Does a nice job of finding an open area when quarterback scrambles. Does a sound job of throttling down and can keep both feet in bounds when catching passes near the sideline.