The 2024 NFL Draft cycle includes another big-name group of LSU receivers, which include Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr. Blessed with superb physical traits, Thomas is coming off a 17-TD season that put him in the first-round conversation.
- College: LSU
- Height: 6’4″
- Weight: 205 lbs.
- Age: 21
- Year: Junior
- Draft Projection: Mid-1st
Thomas put in the work through his three years with the Tigers, growing in all major stat categories. While his first two seasons weren’t hugely impactful, Thomas put up some bonafide numbers in his junior season.
Nabers is the big name from LSU this year, but Thomas did an excellent job of standing out. Having found the end zone more than Nabers, Thomas showed he can thrive next to a stud wideout.
A vertical threat like Thomas relies on long strides and speed for separation, and he is one of the best in the class. A 6’4″ big-bodied target running away from cornerbacks is a sight to see and a common one for Thomas.
He constantly takes the top off the defense.— Snoog’s Dynasty Society (@FFSnoog) January 23, 2024
Being his size and having this type of vertical threat in your bag is dangerous.
He’s gotta be a 4.4-4.45 type of guy… pic.twitter.com/2ItEYFsqjE
Athleticism with the ball
Even with his lanky frame, Thomas can look like a streak with the ball in his hands. Thomas has the burner ability to turn short routes (like screens) into house calls with ease.
Another day, another Brian Thomas Jr big play.— Snoog’s Dynasty Society (@FFSnoog) January 23, 2024
This time it comes from his yards after catch skills and ability to make defenders miss.
Turns a 1st down into a 60+ yard TD making two defenders miss horrifically 💨 pic.twitter.com/Owts1jqeXw
High pointing catches
With a tall frame suited for jump balls, Jayden Daniels looked his way a ton in the red zone. Fade routes and jump balls are great for someone with a 6’4″ frame, and Thomas did well in tracking the ball and high-pointing receptions. This also contributed to his 16.2 percent target share last season, the highest of his career.
Limited Route Tree
When grading tall receivers on their college tape, it seems their route trees aren’t as developed as you’d hope. While it’s correctable, it stands out on tape that he primarily was asked to run deep routes, but he did show some crisp footwork on a few slant routes he ran.
Line of Scrimmage Physicality
It’s surprising to see Thomas struggle with press coverage, especially at the point of attack at the line of scrimmage. At times, Thomas struggled to get into his route because he could not get through a physical cornerback.
What’s encouraging is that this can be fixed – joining the NFL will force him to become more physical.
Projected Draft Capital and Dynasty Outlook
Thomas is in the thick of things for the WR2 spot in this year’s draft class, slotting in behind Marvin Harrison Jr. While not being mentioned in a lot of the same conversations as Rome Odunze or Malik Nabers, Thomas has an elite skill set that should only boost his stock in the lead-up to the NFL Draft.
While he likely will be drafted anywhere from the WR3 to the WR5, Thomas brings an element of verticality and field-stretching that most receivers do not, which sets him apart from the field. Any team looking for a WR1 after pick 15 in this year’s draft will get a true value, and his pedigree will make him an immediate hit for his new team.
While still a little green on the edges, it is easy to understand the hype behind him. Receivers of his size don’t grow on trees, and with his existing skill set, the sky’s the limit for Thomas.
He should be considered in the WR2-4 range in this class for his dynasty value, fighting with Odunze and Nabers. With a year heavy on receiver talent, your dynasty rookie drafts should see Thomas come off the board anywhere from pick 1.03 to 1.07.
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