Position: Wide Receiver
Weight: 210 pounds
School: Ohio State Buckeyes
Michael Thomas 2016 NFL Draft Profile
Ohio State has turned into quite the NFL factory under head coach Urban Meyer. Nowhere is this more evident than in the number of former Buckeyes who are expected to get drafted in 2016. It’s possible that OSU could shatter its own record of 14 from 2004, and wide receiver Michael Thomas should be among the first players taken.
You could say it’s in Thomas’ blood to catch passes in the NFL. After all, his uncle is none other than three-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl-winning wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson. The Los Angeles native originally attended Taft High School in Woodland Hills, CA before moving to Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia for a season. He was part of Meyer’s first recruiting class in 2012 and was actually Cardale Jones’ roommate while at Fork Union.
Thomas played sparingly as a freshman and actually redshirted the following year. It was in 2014, though, that he truly established himself as one of the better receivers in the Big Ten as well as the nation. Him and Devin Smith (now with the New York Jets) would combine for 87 receptions, 1,730 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns as OSU took home the inaugural College Football Playoff title. A year later, he would lead all Buckeye receivers with 56 catches, 781 yards and nine touchdowns. He ended up catching at least one pass in 29 straight games to close out his collegiate career.
- solidly built receiver with a prototypical NFL frame.
- can make contested catches with ease.
- soft hands that can pull in slightly errant throws.
- has a subtle shiftiness that can make the first man miss and give him yards after catch.
- fluid hips and arms enable him to achieve separation in press coverage.
- good change of pace that can cause corners to make an initial bite, giving him an advantage on go routes.
- never shies away from the spotlight; makes big plays in high-pressure situations.
- lacks that explosive first step after the snap.
- will need to expand his route-running repertoire at the next level.
- not exactly the most enthusiastic blocker.
- Ohio State lacked the deep ball threat they had with Devin Smith when Thomas became feature receiver in 2015.
- questions about whether he can pick up a broader NFL playbook.
- production from a pure yardage/touchdown catch standpoint in college lacked wow factor.
NFL Comparison: Allen Robinson
Teams with Need at Position: Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints, Washington Redskins
Projection: early to middle second round
In a league that continues to favor the passing game, teams will need to have a solid corps of competent, pass-catching wide receivers on their roster. Thomas certainly has qualities that put him in that category. In addition to having the physical characteristics to excel at the next level, he possesses big game playmaking ability and has won it all on college football’s biggest stage. It’s going to be a banner draft for prospects who once wore the Scarlet and Gray of Ohio State, and Michael Thomas will undoubtedly be part of the fun. He will join a long list of Buckeye wideouts on current NFL rosters, including Corey “Philly” Brown and Ted Ginn, Jr., both of whom appeared in Super Bowl 50 for the Carolina Panthers.