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Is Buckeyes’ WR Thomas the big receiver the Redskins need?

Feb 18, 2016, 12:00 PM EDT

Michael-Thomas-catch

The NFL draft is 70 days away and there is plenty of speculation as to what players Scot McCloughan will select to wear the burgundy and gold. Between now and the draft we’ll look at some of the players who might be of interest to the Redskins and discuss how he might fit in Washington.

Michael Thomas
Wide receiver
Ohio State

source:

Height: 6-3
Weight: 210

What they’re saying

Thomas isn’t the fastest or most explosive, but he is a good-sized athlete and detailed route-runner with little wasted movements to create spacing at the stem. Although he will need time to adapt to a NFL playbook, he projects as an ideal No. 2 wide receiver at the next level due to his savvy footwork, body control and ball-skills to be a reliable possession target.

Dane Brugler, CBS Sports

How he fits the Redskins: The Redskins could be in desperate need of receivers a year from now. Both Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson are going to be 30-year-old free agents. Andre Roberts is unlikely to be on the roster past next month. Ryan Grant is fine for a fill in role but he’s not a front line receiver. Rashad Ross has speed but he has a lot to learn. Jamison Crowder is a fine slot receiver but you can’t build your attack around him.

If the Redskins are going to need a receiver next year the time to draft him is this year. Thomas seems to fill the bill in terms of what the Redskins have been seeking the last decade or longer—a big wide receiver. He is tall at 6-3 and he plays up to his size, showing an uncanny knack for being able to track the ball out of the quarterback’s hand and going up to get it at the high point.

Thomas would give the Redskins another red zone threat to compliment Jordan Reed, providing another option is Reed is out (and, let’s face it, he’ll probably miss a few games every year) and to force the defense to make tough choices when both of them are on the field.

Potential issues: Thomas does not have great speed and defensive backs will play tight and challenge him to beat them deep. It will be interesting to see what he runs in the 40-yard dash at the combine, although the numbers on the stop watch won’t influence Scot McCloughan much.

For a big receiver his run blocking leaves something to be desired as well. It’s not like he shies away from contact and he should be able to be coached up here.

Bottom line: The temptation to go for an immediate need in the first round, when the chances of getting a player who can start or at least contribute heavily right away are much better. Wide receiver is a big need for the near future but if everyone stays healthy—and that’s a big if—Thomas would be the fourth receiver. That might make Thomas a better option for the second round.

Will he still be there? With over two months to go until the draft gets underway it’s hard to tell. Right now it seems unlikely that he will last until the 53rd pick. But if he is still there you’d have to think that McCloughan would figure he’s the best player available and put him in burgundy and gold.

Previously in Combine Countdown:

  1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Feb 18, 2016 at 2:36 PM

    I don’t think he’ll be there in the 2nd round.

    21* might be a little high for Thomas (but in McGlue we trust).

    Or if we trade back a few spots…

    * I was thinking he might be the pick for us earlier this year, but now I’m leaning towards a DT is we stay where we are.
    ~

  2. kenlinkins - Feb 18, 2016 at 2:42 PM

    I have this kid as a late 2nd or 3rd round talent / project at best. I know his size makes him a good Red Zone target but size is not a skill. IMO he is not the type of player the new GM seems to like (i.e. leaving school early, problems in the class room, doesn’t push himself to get better, a bit lazy just to name a few). He looked much better when D. Smith was on the other side plus most of his yards where on broken plays when C. Jones was running around and he got lost by DB’s. I know the Redskins require long term and bigger WR’s, but IMO Thomas is not the answer.

    • Lex - Feb 18, 2016 at 3:41 PM

      I agree plus if all your looking for is height take another TE like his teammate Vanette. Has great hands offers better blocking and hell be avail after rd 1-3

    • Kraven Moorehead - Feb 19, 2016 at 10:25 AM

      Lol you have him as a second or third rounder…good think you’re not a scout he will be gone in first round…btwcin today’s NFL size is most defiantly a skill

  3. renhoekk2 - Feb 18, 2016 at 4:19 PM

    There are guys in FA this year and next year that they could sign. You never know how draft picks will develop but WR seems even harder to predict unless you are talking about top of the draft talent. Players like Reuben Randle, Marvin Jones, Travis Benjamin are available this year. Next years FA class as of now has players like Markus Wheaton, DeAndre Hopkins, Emmanuel Sanders, Keenan Allen, Tavon Austin, just to name a few. Sure some will be get extensions but some will hit FA as well.

    Recent Skins WR draft picks have been Grant who projects to a back up at best. Hankerson who has been cut by three different teams now. Aldrick Robinson who I don’t think is still in the league. Niles Paul becoming a backup TE is there best success story. It’s why WR is the one position I think teams should be comfortable going into FA and spending money for. It takes a few years for most WR to develop. There will be proven guys looking for their second contracts both this season and next that have already learned how to play in the NFL. Garcon was once one of those guys looking for a second contract. He’s proven much better than anyone they have drafted in the last 5 years. Fact is Rod Gardner is the best WR they have drafted in the last 20yrs. Granted you had Vinny and Dan picking players most of the time, but they still had professional scouts giving them info.

    • scottmccloughanfan - Feb 18, 2016 at 6:03 PM

      YES, but is he the big receiver we will get?

      NO.

      • renhoekk2 - Feb 18, 2016 at 7:33 PM

        Jones is 6-1, Randle is 6-4. 2017 FA has guys like Michael Floyd whose 6-3 and Terrance Williams whose 6-2. All of those guys have proven they can produce in the NFL. Sign one of them and the problem is fixed. Instead of drafting a guy and hope he develops in a year or two. They are all under 27 yrs of age.

    • scottmccloughanfan - Feb 18, 2016 at 6:06 PM

      Which they evidently often ignored.

      I still remember a draft day when a player was picked [third round I believe], and a scout [or somebody] in the background on national t.v. screamed, “no, no, GREG TOLER dammit.”

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Feb 18, 2016 at 7:09 PM

      Ryan Grant was a 5th round pick. The fact that we’ve been terrible at drafting WRs is symptomatic of the failure of the organization the last couple decades.

      And something McGlue needs to change.
      ~

    • John - Feb 19, 2016 at 10:19 PM

      Rod Gardner, really? Mr. 50/50 because he only caught the ball half the time.

      You might go a few years before him to Michael Westbrook. He was pretty good on not so good teams. Very good in 1998, great in 1999 and then when he went down in 2000, with a knee in the Detroit game, early in th season, it was all over for the offense.

  4. scottmccloughanfan - Feb 18, 2016 at 6:31 PM

    My mock currently has a 5th pick on KOLBY LISTENBEE

  5. smotion55 - Feb 18, 2016 at 8:42 PM

    well thought out and I would take him in the 2nd round also. My question is Do You take Treadwell In the 1st if he is there. I would and he should be gone before we pick. I believe we get 1 in the 4th round or later but there should be 3 or 4 tall guys left that play hard Doctson has great hands but skinny just like several of the taller guys Tajae Sharpe has great numbers but not a top school. Gerronimo Allison, Jordan Williams to name a couple of others . they are all over the place on the prospects rankings on these sites. Some guys came out because their QB was leaving or the QB was not very good or a new coach is coming in so they entered the draft.

  6. warriorking1112 - Feb 18, 2016 at 10:56 PM

    i don’t see him lasting til our 2nd pick.

    i think and hope that TCU WR Joshua Doctson is there for us in the 2nd round.
    He would be a Star for our offense with kirk developing along with lining up with theDjax, Jreed , Pierre Thomas. I think has bigger upside for us than Thomas anyway.

  7. berniebernard666 - Feb 19, 2016 at 9:29 AM

    Yes But Ryan Grant was a Gruden pick and Gruden is terrible at picks and no longer makes the picks. Ryan Grant is an average non impact receiver who has no fire and no special teams ability. I have zero clue why Scott M. has allowed him to stay on the team. Grant should be gone after summer camp so the Skins can move forward and develop someone with talent.

    Meanwhile….Scott McCloughin is the King of draft Gurus when it comes to finding football players so most of the Redskins needs will be filled once again in the first 5 rounds of the draft, HOWEVER, he needs to look in free agency to at least solve the Redskins SAFETY problem by signing Eric Weddle and prevent the Giants from getting him.

    • shermanp79 - Feb 19, 2016 at 11:02 AM

      when did Gruden do our drafting? He never had that control…it was Allen drafting.

    • John - Feb 19, 2016 at 10:14 PM

      Grant was drafted by Allen who was proud because the Skins were “winning off the field”.

  8. robert herrera - Feb 19, 2016 at 7:37 PM

    It’s great if can be a redskin. I see that defense needs more attention. Getting a great defensive tackle or end like Kenny Clark or jarren reed is more than necessary. The secondary needs a corner and hard hitting safety like Karl joseph. If I were the Redskins management or scouts, I would not pass up on this young man from West Virginia.

  9. Mr.moneylover - Feb 23, 2016 at 3:07 PM

    I wasn’t to impress with this kid…he reminds me of Ryan grant…will fuller is a better option…redskins lacking another deep threat

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