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

LeSean McCoySep 2 01:43p

Updating an earlier report, Buffalo Bills RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring) may not be in great 'football shape' once Week 1 rolls around, according to a source. He's not at [ More ]

LeSean McCoySep 2 12:43p

Buffalo Bills RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring) seems to be in some danger of missing the season opener Sept. 13. 'Well we certainly expect him to be ready to go, [ More ]

EJ ManuelSep 2 11:33a

Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel is expected to remain on the team as the backup quarterback. There is growing expectations that QB Matt Cassel will be cut.

Matt CasselSep 2 09:23a

Buffalo Bills QB Matt Cassel could be cut by the team, as they are internally discussing the option.

Joseph RandleSep 2 08:33a

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle could have 10-15 carries per game with RB Darren McFadden slightly below that, in the opinion of beat writer Drew Davison

Travis CoonsSep 1 11:03p

Cleveland Browns PK Travis Coons edged out PK Carey Spear, winning the battle for the placekicking job. 'Yeah, it was close. I thought both guys handled themselves very well, [ More ]

Nick ToonSep 1 07:43p

New Orleans Saints WRs Nick Toon, Lance Lewis and R.J. Harris were released Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Randall CobbSep 1 06:23p

Green Bay Packers WR Randall Cobb (shoulder) thinks his sprained right shoulder will be good to go to play in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears in 12 days. [ More ]

James ButlerSep 1 05:53p

Green Bay Packers WR James Butler and TE Harold Spears were released Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Julius ThomasSep 1 05:23p

Jacksonville Jaguars TE Julius Thomas (finger) will undergo surgery on his injured finger Wednesday, Sept. 2, according to a source. Thomas is expected to miss four to five weeks.

Zac DysertSep 1 05:13p

Free-agent QB Zac Dysert (Broncos) was claimed by the Chicago Bears Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Tom BradySep 1 05:03p

Updating a previous report, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will know his fate by the end of this week. Judge Richard Berman said he will issue his decision and order by that time.

Matt BlanchardSep 1 04:53p

Green Bay Packers QB Matt Blanchard was released Tuesday, Sept. 1, according to a source.

Juron CrinerSep 1 04:32p

New York Giants RB Akeem Hunt (hamstring) was waived/injured Tuesday, Sept. 1. WRs Juron Criner and Derrick X. Johnson and TE Will Tye were also waived.

Robert HerronSep 1 04:32p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Robert Herron was waived Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Phil TaylorSep 1 04:23p

Cleveland Browns DT Phil Taylor was released Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Junior HemingwaySep 1 04:12p

Kansas City Chiefs WR Junior Hemingway was waived Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Michael HillSep 1 04:12p

Dallas Cowboys RB Michael Hill (undisclosed) was waived/injured Tuesday, Sept. 1. WRs Antwan Goodley and David Porter and TE Brandon Barden were also waived.

Travis KelceSep 1 03:03p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (ankle) would be able to play if the Chiefs had a game Tuesday, Sept. 1, according to head coach Andy Reid. Kelce is recovering from an ankle sprain.

Jarrett BoykinSep 1 03:03p

Carolina Panthers WRs Jarrett Boykin and De'Andre Presley were waived Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Jace AmaroSep 1 01:33p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (shoulder) will have season-ending shoulder surgery and will be placed on the Reserve/Injured list.

Erik LorigSep 1 12:33p

New Orleans Saints FB Erik Lorig was cut Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Nathan PalmerSep 1 11:53a

Denver Broncos WR Nathan Palmer was waived Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Devonta FreemanSep 1 11:32a

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman was the most active in practice Monday, Aug. 31, that he was been since a hamstring injury Aug. 6. It's unclear whether he'll play [ More ]

Jarrett BoykinSep 1 10:33a

Carolina Panthers WR Jarrett Boykin was released Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Jalen SaundersSep 1 09:13a

New Orleans Saints WR Jalen Saunders is being traded to the New England Patriots Tuesday, Sept. 1, for a conditional draft pick, according to a league source.

Caleb SturgisAug 31 11:32p

Miami Dolphins PK Caleb Sturgis remains the front runner in his competition with PK Andrew Franks. Sturgis said he did not have a good early camp, 'but I've been hitting the ball better lately.'

K. ThompkinsAug 31 07:52p

Oakland Raiders WR Kenbrell Thompkins was released Monday, Aug. 31, according to a source.

Trent RichardsonAug 31 07:22p

Oakland Raiders RB Trent Richardson was released Monday, Aug. 31, according to a source.

Josh BoyceAug 31 06:42p

New England Patriots WR Josh Boyce and TE Jimmay Mundine were released Monday, Aug. 31.

E.J. GainesAug 31 05:52p

St. Louis Rams CB E.J. Gaines (foot) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Monday, Aug. 31. WR Damian Williams was subsequently released.

Travis KelceAug 31 05:32p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (leg) left practice early Monday, Aug. 31, because of a right leg injury. Kelce was able to walk off the field but did not return to practice.

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