2015 DRAFT GUIDE
Chiefs' De'Anthony Thomas making big statement

    2014-08-02 15:00

(Eds: Incorporates FBN--Chiefs Injuries. With AP Photos.)
By DAVE SKRETTA
AP Sports Writer

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) - The diminutive dude wearing the No. 1 jersey took the swing pass near the far sideline.

He made the first defender miss, turned up field and made a couple more miss, and then wound his way all the way to the end zone.

It was just like De'Anthony Thomas used to do in college.

Now he's doing it in the NFL.

The quick, multi-talented running back was taken by the Kansas City Chiefs in the fourth round of May's draft, and already the former Oregon standout has been making 31 other teams look foolish for passing on him.

He's quickly moved up the depth chart in his first camp, and has been lining up at a variety of positions in a variety of sets in coach Andy Reid's offense.

And those zigzagging, ankle-breaking runs like that one earlier this week? Well, they're a big reason why thousands of fans have already become fans of him.

''I feel like I'm doing something right, you know?'' Thomas said after spending nearly half an hour signing autographs. ''Just competing, having fun. Coming to practice ready to work.''

The biggest knock on Thomas coming out of the draft was something he couldn't control: His size. He's listed at 5-foot-9, 174 pounds, which makes him shorter than every position player but wide receiver Weston Dressler and lighter than anybody else in training camp.

But unlike Pro Bowl punt returner Dexter McCluster, who filled a similar role with the Chiefs before departing in free agency, Thomas relishes contact.

Despite his smallish stature, it takes a bit more than a stiff breeze to knock him from his feet - assuming, of course, that some poor guy is able to track him down and put a solid hit on him.

''It's all about heart,'' he said. ''Just competing and having confidence.''

There certainly was no disputing the production Thomas had with the Ducks. He ran for nearly 2,000 yards and caught more than 1,200 yards worth of passes during his three-year career, even though he missed time his junior season with an ankle injury. He also led the nation in yards per carry as a sophomore, and proved to be an effective punt returner.

So when McCluster parlayed his big year on special teams into a big contract with Tennessee, the Chiefs jumped at the opportunity to plug in Thomas as a replacement.

''He truly enjoys playing the game,'' Chiefs general manager John Dorsey said. ''I'm sure it's a dream he's chased all his life. He wants to be good. He has a degree of pride. And I think the coaching staff we have, that does nothing but refine his skills to take it to another level.''

Thomas said he tries to model himself after LeBron James - ''He's a great team player,'' he said - but never gravitated toward basketball growing up, even on the playgrounds of south-central Los Angeles.

In fact, his first love was track and field because he liked the individual nature of the sport.

But he was playing around with friends when he was about 5 years old when a coach drove by and asked whether he had ever played football. Thomas never looked back.

He became a star in the Pop Warner leagues in Southern California. And by the time he arrived at Oregon, Thomas was already known for his speed and silky smooth moves.

Now, he's trying to get up to speed with the Chiefs.

Since Oregon is on the quarter system academically, Thomas missed virtually the entire offseason program, putting him a bit behind in learning the offense. But he's shown several times in training camp that he's getting a grasp of it - and leaving defenders grasping for air.

''We're not going to throw the whole book at him,'' Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said, ''but use his skill set, use his talent and let him go play football.''

Already, he's proven pretty good at that.

''You get nervous when you've got him in the game,'' linebacker Derrick Johnson said. ''I had the running back today man-to-man and you look up and it's number one in the backfield, that's not a running back to me, so it's one of those things that you've got to be on your toes. And in this offense he's doing great. He's going to help us this year.''

Notes: CB Marcus Cooper tweaked his hamstring early in Thursday's workout. Sean Smith took his place. ... Pro Bowl S Eric Berry (right heel) should be back soon, Reid said, but it remains unclear whether he will play in the Chiefs' first preseason game.

---

Online:

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Richard RodgersJul 1 05:03p

Green Bay Packers TE Richard Rodgers could see more playing time in 2015, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Rodgers played 528 snaps, while fellow TE Andrew Quarless played [ More ]

Rob HouslerJun 30 03:13p

Cleveland Browns TEs Gary Barnidge, Rob Housler and Jim Dray could all end up taking over for TE Jordan Cameron, who is now with the Miami Dolphins. Head coach [ More ]

Sam BradfordJun 29 05:22p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford (knee) is expected to be in the final phase of his rehabilitation from a torn anterior cruciate ligament once training camp begins. Bradford's second [ More ]

Charles JohnsonJun 29 02:02p

Minnesota Vikings WR Charles X. Johnson appears to have everything it takes to produce in the NFL, according to offensive coordinator Norv Turner. 'He's got great work ethic, and [ More ]

C.J. SpillerJun 28 09:02p

New Orleans Saints RB C.J. Spiller has a perfect skill-set for head coach Sean Payton's system, which relies on getting the ball to players in space, according Chris Wesseling [ More ]

Tony MoeakiJun 25 07:12p

Atlanta Falcons TE Tony Moeaki will compete with TE Jacob Tamme for the Falcons' starting tight end job during training camp. QB Matt Ryan praised both tight ends for [ More ]

Kelvin BenjaminJun 25 03:52p

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin's reported weight gain this offseason is being overblown, according to general manager Dave Gettleman. Gettleman expects Benjamin to be ready to go for training [ More ]

Antoine CasonJun 25 03:03a

Free-agent CB Antoine Cason (foot) will miss the 2015 season due to surgery he underwent on Tuesday, June 23. Cason (Ravens) did not specify what type of surgery he [ More ]

Marvin JonesJun 24 09:13p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Marvin Jones (ankle, foot) did not play in 2014 due to multiple foot and ankle issues, but he is healthy and was impressive in organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp.

Keith WenningJun 24 02:43p

Free-agent QB Keith Wenning (Ravens) signed with the Cincinnati Bengals Wednesday, June 24. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Pierre GarconJun 24 02:23p

Washington Redskins WR Pierre Garcon could be featured more often in the passing game this season based on the offseason workouts. Garcon often lined up to the right of [ More ]

Martavis BryantJun 24 01:43p

Pittsburgh Steelers WRs Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant are expected to compete for the No. 2 wide receiver job during training camp. Both players performed well during offseason workouts.

Peyton ManningJun 24 11:53a

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning was the subject of preliminary trade discussions with the Houston Texans, according to a source. The talks occurred before Manning restructured his deal and [ More ]

Rueben RandleJun 24 10:53a

New York Giants WR Rueben Randle was the best receiver on the field by a wide margin during spring practices, in the opinion of beat writer Jordan Ranaan. Randle [ More ]

Chris IvoryJun 24 10:43a

New York Jets RB Chris Ivory is listed as the starting running back entering training camp, according to beat writer Rich Cimini's unofficial depth chart. RB Bilal Powell is [ More ]

Devonta FreemanJun 23 10:22a

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman enters training camp ahead of RB Tevin Coleman on the depth chart.

Joseph RandleJun 23 10:02a

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle appears to be the clear leader at running back, and it's his job to lose in training camp.

Ahmad BradshawJun 22 11:32p

Free-agent RB Ahmad Bradshaw (Colts) has been suspended one game for violation of the league's substance abuse policy. If he signs with a team he must sit out for the first week.

Terrelle PryorJun 22 04:33p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Terrelle Pryor was claimed off waivers by the Cleveland Browns Monday, June 22, according to a source.

Fred DavisJun 19 06:02p

New England Patriots TE Fred Davis was released Friday, June 19.

Dennis PittaJun 19 02:22p

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) was not medically cleared to practice in minicamp as he continues to recover from his second dislocated and fractured hip in as many [ More ]

Isaiah CrowellJun 19 01:22p

Cleveland Browns RB Isaiah Crowell could be the workhorse back if his ball security improves, according to offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.

Devonta FreemanJun 19 01:12p

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman will be used in a lot of different ways, including as a receiver, according to head coach Dan Quinn. 'I knew Devonta had terrific [ More ]

Chris OgbonnayaJun 19 11:32a

Free-agent RB Chris Ogbonnaya (Giants) announced his retirement Friday, June 19.

John MoffittJun 18 11:02p

Free-agent OG John Moffitt unretired Wednesday, June 17, and cleared waivers Thursday, June 18. He is free to sign with a team of his choosing. The Philadelphia Eagles, Miami [ More ]

Terrelle PryorJun 18 09:32p

Free-agent QB Terrelle Pryor is going to give it a shot at playing wide receiver in the NFL. Some teams have already expressed an interest.

Allen RobinsonJun 18 09:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Robinson was described as 'unbelievable' by QB Blake Bortles Thursday, June 18. 'He's definitely a threat now in the red zone. ... He's physical. He [ More ]

Terrelle PryorJun 18 05:32p

Cincinnati Bengals QB Terrelle Pryor was waived Thursday, June 18.

Taylor ThompsonJun 18 05:32p

Tennesse Titans TE Taylor Thompson was waived Thursday, June 18.

Matthew MulliganJun 18 04:32p

Free-agent TE Matthew Mulligan (Titans) signed an undisclosed contract with the Buffalo Bills Thursday, June 18.

Carlton MitchellJun 18 04:22p

Free-agent WR Carlton Mitchell (Buccaneers) signed an undisclosed contract with the Atlanta Falcons Thursday, June 18. WR Shane Wynn was waived.

Daniel ThomasJun 18 04:12p

Free-agent RB Daniel Thomas (Dolphins) signed a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears Thursday, June 18. Financial terms were not disclosed.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group