De’Anthony Thomas: The Chiefs Pick I Love

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Last week, I wrote about how I hated the decision to select Georgia QB Aaron Murray in the 5th round, and AA commenters agreed with me unanimously. Well, now it’s time to point out the pick that I’m a huge fan of — RB De’Anthony Thomas in the 4th.

I know that there are some people at AA who have the reverse opinion about these two picks, but I think DAT will be the gem of this class and has the potential to be a major contributor moving forward.

First, while the defense got most of the credit for the Chiefs early success, I think it is easy to gloss over just how critical special teams were to the team throughout the season. Part of the reason the offense was putting up such anemic numbers during the team’s undefeated streak was because the return units were doing a lot of their work for them.

Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

For one, the team always had a shorter field to work with. According to Football Outsiders, the Chiefs started with the best average field position on drives in 2013, beginning on average at their own 32.74 yard-line. Outsiders also gave the Chiefs’ special teams a weighted DVOA of 9.2%, which led the league head and shoulders about the rest (here’s a complicated explanation of how that is compiled).

In other words, special teams were a big part of what made the Chiefs dominant last year, and in order to maintain that identity it was crucial that the team fill the production that would be lost from the departure of returners WR Dexter McCluster and S Quintin Demps. Filling that hole is DAT, who certainly looks like a more prolific returner than either of the guys he is replacing.

Obviously, highlight reels are just that, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a highlight tape for a non-QB that is literally 11 minutes of a player scoring touchdowns. But, that’s exactly what DAT has.

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Tags: De'Anthony Thomas Dexter McCluster Special Teams

  • berttheclock

    Unanimous about Murray? I fully agree with John Dorsey that taking Murray was as he called it “a no brainer”. Great pick.

    Yes, our eminent Paddy was aghast at that 4.51 combine 40 for DAT. However, DAT said there was a mixup about that timing. So, at Eugene for the Nike Pro Day, he ran a 4.34 40. Also, last year in Eugene, he ran a 10.31 100 meters which was very close to what he had run at Crenshaw HS. Nicholas, you are from Kansas. Check out the best 100 meter time for the state high schools in 2003 and you will find it was won in a time of 10.63. Won by someone named Jordy Nelson. Wonder what ever happened to him? In 1996, the time was 10.36 by a young man from Wichita South East.

    DAT has legitimate speed and a West Coast offense can spread the field both vertically and horizontally. Put him on slants and begin yelling “Be Gone”..

    • Ben Nielsen

      I think Nick was being sarcastic about the “unanimous” thing.

    • sidibeke

      Fake the screen to JC and run it to DAT on the other side against Oak 6 times. 42 points, baby.

  • Norman Gunn

    I never heard of DAT. So I geared myself to watch ever snap he took starting with his freshman year at Oregon. 6 minutes into the 45 minute long video I saw enough and I was done. The kid has crazy jukes but was caught from behind several times. He lacks the speed to turn the corner. He’ll get us good field position but he isn’t going to take it to the house against NFL speed. DAT is a downgrade from McCluster as far as special teams. I think he will be a fun option out of the back field as a receiver.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      De’Anthony Thomas has elite speed. He just posted a bad 40 time at the Combine. Those tend to stick with you no matter what you run at your pro day (DAT posted twin sub-4.4 times that day). This kid has wheels! Couple that with his field visions and the angles he uses to separate himself from defenders and he’s going to be a big weapon for this football team. Glad to have him!

    • Kisersosay

      Sounds to me that you didn’t know anything about DAT and after 6 minutes you still don’t.

      • Norman Gunn

        The tape don’t lie, there’s a reason he fell to day 3..

  • tazer15

    He lacks speed are ypu kidding??? Getting caught from behind happens to everyone and I saw nothing that told me he did alot.As matter a fact I saw the exact oppisite dude can fly.And ya the Aaron Murry pick was a great!

    • Ben Nielsen

      Think he ended up running a 4.3 at his Pro Day. I was surprised by how “slow” he ran at the NFL Combine, too. The combine isn’t set up for players to perform at their best, tho.

  • Natasha Sims

    Great post, Nick! You’re absolutely right about him using his blocks effectively. But, ouch, I forgot that DAT was the one that burned K-State in the Fiesta Bowl. Thanks for the highlight reel; I’m looking forward to seeing the partnership between him and Toub.

    But…what do we think about Oregon’s all-black uniform? Crazy intimidating, right?

    • Ben Nielsen

      You forgot?! Gee, thanks for reading this post from last week, Natasha:

      • Natasha Sims


        • Ben Nielsen


          Also, I’m all for the all-black uniforms. Kind of wish the Chiefs had a black jersey.

          • sidibeke

            I was hoping to see more of the red on red.

    • berttheclock

      I live in the Greater Portland area. I used to live about two miles from the Adidas plant. Huge competition in uniforms. Have you ever read about the worth of new uniform designs to recruiting for colleges? Nike claims their new uniforms have been a large part of Oregon’s recruiting.

  • Peter C

    I,like the article as well as Thomas, but for gods sake you are a NUT. Murray is a wonderful QB who is better than Bray. I loved his work at Georgia. I would even say he was in the top 3 QBs. The only reason he was taken so late is because of his injury. I think he is a great investment for the future. My only thing is who is he or my man Smith going to throw to? I like Thomas, but we should have taking a WR in the first round instead on Dee-Dumbie. Concerned and excited for the future. As always GO CHEIFS!!!!

    • codger

      Never really know about a mid round QB pick. All of them have the arm, and most have the leadership. The thing most often missing is the quick eyes. Some guys can see the field at NFL speed and pull the right trigger and MOST can’t.
      I watched Brady play in college and outside of a gun for an arm you would have been hard pressed to predict he would amount to anything. No, I’m not saying Murray will be a starter in the NFL. Just that unless the guy has Manning or Luck kind of credentials coming out of college you just don’t really know how he will respond to NFL action and pressure and preparation. So, draft a good one every other year of so and see what happens.

  • Ben Nielsen

    This is an excellent point: “I don’t think you can point to a single game in 2013 that the Chiefs lost because they were short one receiver.”

  • berttheclock

    I loved the comment by Ray Farmer, the new GM of the Browns, who worked for many years in KC. He was asked why the Browns did not pick up a top WR in the draft knowing Gordon may go on suspension. His answer was a question as to who was the last elite wide out to wear a SB ring. Out of the top 10 wide outs last year, 9 of them were six two and taller. The shortest wide out was the five eleven Percy Harvin, who spent most of the year on IR. Yet, he ended being the only one to wear a SB ring. I hope Peter C responds the day after “Dee-Dumbie” drops Peyton Manning on his keister.

    • Ben Nielsen

      Working on a post about this. I’m starting to feel a lot more comfortable about our receiver situation. (Although I would feel more comfortable if we had Percy Harvin…)

      • berttheclock

        Yeah and I wanted a new pony for Christmas.

        • Ben Nielsen

          Did you get it?

          • berttheclock

            But, kind of strange. For over two months, I touted the Beaver, Cooks, only to see the Nike Duck speedster end up with the Chiefs instead. All in all, I am very happy with the pickup. Funny thing is I talked with a huge Nike fan about this and he thought DAT was too small for the NFL. Reminded me of reading the comments by Big Roy over at the Star where he kept saying the same about Dexter. I really wish Big Roy would post here as I would love to read his thoughts about DAT.

          • Ben Nielsen

            DAT kinda reminds me of DeSean Jackson. I think. I’m not sure yet.

  • berttheclock

    That photo above speaks volumes about DAT. Imagine a receiver catching the ball with his hands. Where, oh where has Tony G gone?

  • Olivier

    I didn’t like the pick at first but seeing that .. he’s the next best thing after Dante Hall !!! Haven’t seen any tape from college of Dexter McCluster, but I think this guy is way batter than he was coming out of college.

  • chief4ever

    How does a football fan post that they never heard of D’Anthony Thomas ???? Strange fans of the sport ! Anyway: like the pick and would like to see him as a return specialist….like to still see Charles and Davis get vast majority of carries from line of scrimmage. Go Chiefs ! (FYI: I also still do like the Murray pick….tired of always using some other teams 2nd string QB….let’s at least try to develop our own).

    • sidibeke

      Fan of NFL, not college. It happens. Likewise, big college fans are not necessarily NBA fans.

  • CrispySBC

    First understand I loved Dex’s toughness and the smile he always wore. Someone would lay the wood to him and he’d pop right up … help the guy who nailed him up and smile the whole time. However, when he dropped what looked like a sure TD in the Bill’s game … I figured he was gone. AR has to trust a player and I think he didn’t trust Dex … add to that the fact he lacked break away speed you can see how DAT is an upgrade … so I love the pick.
    I do think that Dee Ford will show everyone he’s the best player added to the roster. He’s gonna have a huge impact on our D and he’s going to be a game changer. I can’t wait to see us line up with Walker, Poe, then Ford, DJ. Tamba and Houston (the best LB corp. in the NFL) behind them. Man it’s going to give PFM, Phyllis, Kap, Brady. Wilson and all the D coaches nightmares. I can’t wait to see Sutton “unleash the Kraken’s”!!

  • Kevin Smith

    I’ll make the comparison here again, watching DAT highlights reminds me of watching Deion Sanders back in the day. They both have the same ability to make defenders look like rank amateurs in the open field. There’s even a Barry Sandersesque clip where he runs about 20 yards downfield for a score with a DB right in front of him facing away and the guy just can’t find him. I’m excited to see what DAT brings to KC.

  • Taz

    Kinda stuck on the unanimously part? LOL Just in your world, not the football one.

  • JD Austin

    I was not wild about this pick only because I had not watched DAT; that being said I went back and watched some game film of him and whoever thinks this kid does not have speed is blind! He looks slow as he sets his blocks (which by the way is my favorite thing about him) then he hits another gear and blows by everyone. If a D player takes a good line yeah he can be caught as can anyone but more often than not he made the D look silly. I for one am now extremely excited to have him as a CHIEF as I truly think the X-Factor just might be back; but since there is only one true Dante Hall AKA the X-Factor maybe we should just call him XXX as he is just pure nasty to the opponet!