2011 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Daniel Thomas, RB, Kansas State

Let's use today's 2011 NFL Draft prospect profile to familiarize ourselves with another of the myriad of running backs who are considered likely second-day selections during the draft later this month at Radio City Music Hall.

Daniel Thomas of Kansas State is a 6-foot, 230-pound back with some intriguing skills as an inside power running, especially if the Giants have decided that it might be time to part ways with Brandon Jacobs. Thomas is not an outside runner or home-run hitter, but few running backs play every down any more.What you are looking for are guys who complement each other.

Could this guy be a complementary piece along with Ahmad Bradshaw? He ran 4.6 in the 40-yard dash earlier this week at his Pro Day. Read the scouting reports after the jump and determine that for yourself.


Daniel Thomas
RB, Kansas State
6-foot, 230 pounds
Projection: Second-day selection

Scouting Reports

From Draft Countdown:

Strengths:
- Excellent height and bulk with a large, sturdy frame
- Athletic with nice agility, balance and nimble feet
- Is strong, tough, powerful and runs extremely hard
- Patient but decisive with good vision and instincts
- A classic downhill runner who excels on the interior
- Doesn't go down easily and will usually fall forward
- Gets job done in short-yardage / goal line situations
- Is more than capable as pass catcher out of backfield
- An adequate blocker with the potential to be fantastic
- Determined with good work ethic and solid intangibles
- Very productive and excelled against top competition

Weaknesses:
- Just does not have great speed, quickness or a burst
- Runs too tall and leaves himself open to punishment
- Not very shifty or elusive and won't make people miss
- Will struggle to get outside and turn corner in pros
- Is not a big play threat who will take it the distance
- Struggled in classroom and intelligence is a concern

Overview:
Not flashy but a North / South runner with all-around skill set to potentially be an every - down workhorse at the next level.

From National Football Post:

A tall, well-built back who runs angry and hard inside. Does a nice job dropping his shoulder into contact, churning his legs and fighting for additional yards. Exhibits a pretty good feel between the tackles, knows how to set up blocks, be patient and accelerate into the open field. Possesses above-average body control for a back his size with the ability to side step a defender, break a tackle and stay on his feet.

However, is an upright runner who exposes too much of his body between the tackles. Allows defenders to easily get into/under his pad level and needs to do a better job running behind his pads. Isn't the most sudden or shifty of backs and routinely gets too long/overextended with his footwork, failing to consistently keep his feet under him and maintain proper balance. Has the ability to cut against the grain, stick his foot in the ground at full speed and side step a defender in space. However, he isn't shifty enough to make a man miss in tight quarters and create for himself behind the line. Doesn't exhibit a great first step when asked to press the hole and seems to only have one gear to his game. Struggles to get back up to speed quickly out of his breaks and isn't going to outpace anyone to the edge at the second level. Can catch the football out of the backfield and looks natural in the pass game.

Impression: A big, physical back who runs hard and exhibits the vision to set up blocks and pick his way through traffic. However, he isn't a real impressive athlete, runs upright and will have a tough time averaging 4.0 yards per carry at the next level. Looks more like a physical backup type runner to me who isn't dynamic enough to start in the NFL.

From NFL.com:

Strengths:
Thomas has a great blend of size, power and speed. Consistently gains yardage after contact and breaks arm tackles. Can push the pile. Possesses good vision and patience. Has great initial burst, especially for a big back. Can make defenders miss in the box with his quick feet. Willing and capable in pass pro. Durable and can handle the load.

Weaknesses:
Occasionally waits a count too long before cutting upfield through the hole. Has great short-area athleticism but doesn't possess great top-end speed to break a lot of long runs. Isn't overly comfortable in the passing game. Not a refined route-runner and struggles at times to create space.

Overview:
Thomas the combination of size, strength, burst and vision to become a solid NFL starting running back. A lot of his production comes in-between the tackles, picking his lanes, bursting through the hole, staying behind his pads and finishing runs by falling forward for additional yardage. Good in short yardage and goal line situations. Has enough agility to shake some defenders, get the corner and get upfield but isn't a true home-run threat. Does a very good job in pass protection but may never become a difference-making pass-catching option at the next level. Thomas carries a second round grade and could contribute immediately.

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