In each of the past two seasons, the New York Giants have had a player from UConn as part of their rookie class. In 2015, that was wide receiver Geremy Davis, a sixth-round pick. Last season, it was safety Andrew Adams, an undrafted free agent who ended up starting 13 games.
Can wide receiver Noel Thomas make it three seasons in a row? The 6-foot, 205-pound Thomas is a player who is likely on the draft bubble, a potential late-round choice or undrafted free agent. He will get a chance to show the Giants why they should give him an NFL opportunity when he works out for the team during its Local Pro Day on April 7.
“I obviously hope to get drafted,” Thomas said during a recent phone interview. “But I’m trying not to really worry about it right now. I know I’m going to get chance some how, some way. Once I do get that chance I’m going to show why I should be there.”
Thomas set the Huskies since-season receiving record in 2016 with an even 100 receptions for 1,179 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Thomas did not test incredibly well at the NFL Combine, and was particularly disappointed by his 4.63-second 40-yard dash. He improved that time to an unofficial 4.42 during the UConn Pro Day.
“I just knew it was my last chance to really showcase my speed,” Thomas said. “There was a little chip on my shoulder there.”
With the draft process mostly complete and the wait for the draft dragging on, Thomas said he feels like he has done everything he can to give himself an opportunity.
“The big work is already done, so that weight is off my shoulders. Besides meeting with teams or any workouts it’s just waiting for the draft, being anxious,” he said. “I wanted to go and just give everything I can, give 100 percent effort. I feel like that’s what I did. I think I reached that goal.”
Thomas played with both Davis, now a member of the Los Angeles Chargers, and Adams while at UConn. He is close to Davis and speak to him regularly. He has been training this offseason with Adams at the Chip Smith Performance Center in Atlanta.
When Adams was at UConn, the two used to occasionally go head-to-head in practice. Thomas isn’t shy about broadcasting the winner of those matchups.
“I tell him the same thing every single time,” Thomas said. “He cannot guard me. He knows the deal.”
In a few weeks Thomas will know whether or not he will get the chance to prove that to the Giants, or another NFL team.