De’Anthony Thomas Named To PFWA All-Rookie Team
By Ben Nielsen
De’Anthony Thomas was named to the Pro Football Writers Of America all-rookie team as a punt returner. He was the only Chiefs rookie named to the team, and one of three AFC West rookies to make an appearance (Oakland Raiders rookies linebacker Khalil Mack and defensive lineman Justin Ellis were the other two).
Special teams is where Thomas showed off his explosive skills that the Chiefs hope to see more of on offense next season. Thomas averaged 11.9 yards per punt return and 30.6 yards per kickoff return with one return touchdown. His average numbers were good enough to rank in the top five in both kick and punt returns, though he did not have enough kick returns to officially qualify.
On offense DAT rushed for 113 yards on 14 carries and caught 23 passes for 156 yards, scoring one offensive touchdown. He was limited the first month of the season due to a hamstring pull but by the second half of the year Thomas started seeing more playing time on offense.
Pro Football Focus gave DAT a 4.2 overall offensive grade for the season and graded him as the Chiefs’ second best receiving threat behind Travis Kelce. Not bad for a guy who played only 193 total snaps on offense for the year. His 8.0 kick return grade was fourth in the NFL behind Adam Jones, Devin Hester, and Darren Sproles.
The Chiefs are at least getting some early returns out of the first two John Dorsey drafts. Between Kelce, DAT, Knile Davis, and Albert Wilson, the Chiefs have some explosive players to work with around the line of scrimmage and in the middle of the field. If the Chiefs can find another young weapon to work on the outside and some offensive line help then Kansas City’s offense could be pretty fun to watch next season.
Kansas City’s future is hopeful, in part, due to Thomas. It’s good to see his getting some early recognition as a guy who can do some good things on the field.