I am picking my pet cat a little early this year but I already know who I am rooting for this summer. Josh Thomas was our 5th round pick #143 overall. 21 cornerbacks were drafted over Josh Thomas last weekend in New York City. If you leave out the first 3 cornerbacks taken who went in the first round, than 18 teams passed on Josh Thomas for other another cornerback. I am here to tell you Josh Thomas did not deserve to be passed over those 18 times. I think Josh Thomas has starting cornerback material and I know some of the corners taken before him do not have that type of ability.
Josh Thomas was rated as Scouts Inc #8 cornerback overall. You could argue ranking him above Johnny Patrick and put Thomas as the 7th overall cornerback on their list. Anyway getting the 8th best cornerback prospect in the 5th round is pretty much a steal in my book. It will not be on ESPN or the NFL Network but this was truly a find for the Cowboys in my opinion.
Combine 40 yard dash time: 4.46
Pro Day 40 yard dash time: 4.43
Combine vertical jump: 38 ½
Pro Day vertical jump: 40
Josh Thomas is a great cover cornerback. He has really quick feet and great athleticism. He shows the awareness needed to succeed in zone coverage. Has a quick and smooth pack pedal, he can easily turn on a dime. He possess very fluid hips, a must for good cornerbacks. He has the speed to trail and shadow a wide receiver down the field. He easily turns and runs when trailing a wide receiver down field. He has the speed to stay with the play downfield. Is very aggressive and physical in press coverage, so he will most likely be used in press coverage in the NFL. Is great at using his hands to deflect passes and disrupt a wide receivers timing. Closes well because of his great speed. Has the extra gear to close in after making a mistake
Josh Thomas was rarely tested because he became Buffalo's shutdown cornerback. Has the instincts to quickly read and diagnose a play reading into the backfield. He times his leaps well and makes a play for the ball every time. He takes good angles and is rarely out of position. Is an aggressive player that uses this and his physicality at the line of scrimmage to jam wide receivers off the line. He needs to work on his hands, they are not awful but they are not great either. If he can improve his ability to come down with the pick, then we might have a little feisty ball hawk on our hands.
Josh Thomas is a willing and physical tackler. He will lay the wood when he has too and is always one of the first players in to make the tackle. I really like this kid in this area because this is exactly what Rob Ryan is looking for. He is not afraid to mix it up and get down and dirty. Our cornerbacks last year had major issues in this area last year but stepped it up towards the end of the season with Garrett as head coach. Josh Thomas is a feisty little dude, he does not back down ever. If you want to have a future starting on the outside, you need to tackle just as good as you cover.
Intangibles and Mentality
Josh Thomas is going to have a chip on his shoulder and carry that with him the rest of his career. He was labeled as a small school cornerback who was too small. Many teams passed on him and he will remember that, that motivates guys like JT. JT played with a chip on his shoulder before he was drafted, now I can only imagine how much harder he will be motivated to prove teams wrong.
He is from Texas and grew up a Cowboys fan, so this must be a dream come true. This is another motivating factor, playing for your home team you grew up adoring. We saw Dez Bryant go to the team he loved growing up as a kid and Dez was a superstar. JT is going to soak all of this up and be even more dedicated to the Dallas Cowboys because of his boyhood alliances to the team.
JT is a hard worker on and off the football field. He is what I would call a grinder, a guy who does it all and works extremely hard. He is respected by his teammates so I could see him being somewhat a leader early on in his career. He plays the game aggressively and takes chances on the ball. He plays a physical game is not afraid to get up in your face, this is exactly the type of cornerbacks we need on this team.
JT is a former track star and sprinter in college so he has the speed to succeed in the NFL. When you watch him play he is one of those guys that plays faster than he times. He ran a 4.46 40 yard dash at the NFL Combine but I think he could time faster than that, a low 4.4. When you watch him play he has great quickness and closes ground fast. He is great in man coverage because of his speed and quickness. He appears to be a nice fast cornerback that we can utilize early on in our nickel packages.
Overall I add in all of his attributes and I see a cornerback who has the potential to become a starter down the road. I like his speed and aggressive mentality. He might be smaller but his frame is muscular and compact so that should keep him from experiencing a lot of injuries. I don't know I just really like this kid when I watched some of his limited tape I could get my hands on. I know a few people in the Buffalo area and said that Josh Thomas is a complete football player. My friend also said if that he went to a big time school he easily would have been a 2nd-3rd round pick. I think the Cowboys got great value in the 5th round with Josh Thomas. They decided to pass on the cornerbacks in the earlier rounds and take on later on. I wonder if the Cowboys scouted him or just liked what they heard from around the league. I think they were banking on Brandon Burton, but Josh Thomas is a pretty good consolation prize. I think the teams that were interested in JT got greedy and waited too long to take him.
When I try to sit down and tag a NFL comparison to Josh Thomas its tough. The one player I really think he is similar to is Cortland Finnegan of the Titans. Finnegan is 5'10 188 and was taken in the 7th round out of Samford. JT Thomas is 5'10 191 and taken in the 5th round out of Buffalo. Both are around the same size and came from smaller schools. Finnegan wasn't supposed to become a Pro Bowl cornerback, he was taken in the 7th round. See you can find cornerbacks later in the draft that have great success in the NFL. I can see a similar situation with JT Thomas. He will work his ass off and possibly play his way into a starting role on this team in the future. This may turn out to be another great find by the Cowboys deep into the draft. With Terence Newman aging and Mike Jenkins losing his Pro Bowl touch, JT Thomas may indeed find plenty of opportunity to make his mark on the roster.
I am ashamed that I did not look into this guy more during the pre-draft process. I live in New York and JT went to Buffalo, I am very ashamed that I did not look into him more. My bad JT. All that matters is that I am tuned in now. I value Scouts Inc draft prospect rating service. They do a excellent job ranking players. I really believe getting their 8th best cornerback prospect in the 5th round was a steal.
Josh Thomas Post Draft Press Conference (via UBSID)
#15 Josh Thomas (via UBNOW)
This has been a ChiaCrack production