2014 NFL Combine Preview: Five Running Backs to Watch

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Nov 29, 2013; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks running back De

2. De’Anthony Thomas

School: Oregon
Watch to Watch: 40-Time, Height and Weight, Medicals
2013 Stats: 96 carries, 594 yards, eight touchdowns; 22 receptions, 246 yards, one touchdown
Met with Chiefs: No

Thomas is small, so he’s not going to be an every down running back. However, an every down back is not what the Chiefs are looking for should they draft a running back. What they are looking for is someone with some kind of dynamic skill who can also play special teams. Thomas can do both of those things.

In three seasons with Oregon, Thomas returned 73 kicks and 16 punts for the Ducks. He was the primary kick returner in all three of his seasons at Oregon, and returned punts in freshman and sophomore years. Kansas State fans may remember him as the guy who returned the opening kickoff of the Fiesta Bowl for a touchdown. Over three years he returned four kicks back for touchdowns and one punt, averaging 25.8 yards per kick return and 17.1 yards per punt return.

He was equally dynamic in the running and passing games, totaling 41 touchdowns over three years. In 243 career carries he averaged 7.8 yards per carry, and averaged 11.5 yards on 113 catches.

Keep in mind with Thomas’ stats that Oregon tends to blow out a lot of their opponents, so his touches were limited on both offense and special teams. So while he is probably not a true 7.8 yards per carry back, it does show how explosive he can be with only a few touches.

If he can come out and prove he has a body that can stay healthy and meet the expectations of his 40-time, he’d be worth a third or fourth round pick for the Chiefs.

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