The NFL Combine: Where scouting reports read like a ‘Mean Tweets’ segment

Sports

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – NOVEMBER 18: Jeff Thomas #4 of the Miami Hurricanes returns a kick during a game against the Virginia Cavaliers at Hard Rock Stadium on November 18, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

ST. LOUIS – The “Underwear Olympics” are officially underway in Indianapolis. College football players who hope to have their names called in the NFL Draft this spring will converge on Indianapolis to run drills, get measured, analyzed, poked, and prodded by scouts, doctors, and the assembled media.

Imagine going to school and getting ready to start your career with what amounts to a mass interview call, where your strengths and weaknesses are openly discussed along with everyone else’s.

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow had fun with it Monday when word got out about his hand measurements.

It’s easy for Burrow to joke–it will be a shock if he’s not the first overall pick. But consider the hill someone like East. St. Louis graduate Jeff Thomas has to climb this week.

Thomas decided to forego his senior season at the University of Miami and enter the draft. His pure athletic ability as a wide receiver is there for all to see, but he’s been on and off the field at Miami over disciplinary issues and nearly transferred to Illinois before a coaching change in South Beach.

Here’s a look in part at the the analysis on Thomas’ official combine page created by the NFL:

Strengths
  • Explosive speed and athletic ability
  • Early acceleration to dash by press on outside release
  • Top-end speed requires coverage help over the to
Weaknesses
  • Was off the team before returning after coaching change and served suspension in 2019
  • Slightly built
  • Failed to build momentum and production in 2019

What Thomas will have to fight now as he pursues his NFL dream is also in his Combine report, comments attributed to an anonymous scout: “He has talent but not enough to put up with all the other crap that comes with him.”

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