Josh Thomas comes to the Cowboys from the University of Buffalo. We wanted to talk to someone who had watched him play football throughout his college career, who had seen more than just the highlight tapes and the workouts. So we asked Bull Run, SB Nation's Buffalo, blog to weigh-in on the new cornerback.
Make the jump for the scouting report...
He is an exceptional cover corner, what sets him apart is how he takes care of the run despite his small frame. Thomas thrived as a corner who would blitz or come in high to top the run. The best way to sum up his style of play is aggressive.
In pass coverage he has nice body control and makes solid adjustments so as to make a play on the ball. You can see from his combine video that Thomas can switch direction without losing much, if any, speed. When he does make a mistake he has very good closing speed to make up for it.
Is at his best in off-man coverage when he can keep the play in front of him. Jumps well and flashes the awareness to deflect passes against bigger receivers. Has started since his freshman season.
On the down side:
Thomas is not big enough to go up against some of the taller NFL receivers, this most comes across when asked to jam them at the line. Trusts his speed too much at times and takes poor angles to the ball, this works in the college level but most NFL receivers can make him pay for this.
He is so run centered that he can get caught looking into the backfield and allows craftier receivers to get behind him. Suffered a concussion as a sophomore.
The Concussion has come up a couple of times as a 'concern' but Thomas is a four year starter who had just two such injuries and the last time was in his sophomore year.
Thomas is one heck of a kid who would have had the spotlight on a lot of MAC defenses, but at Buffalo he was in the backfield with four time all conference safety Davonte Shannon. Still he never seemed to have an issue with the lack of attention.
He never 'gave up' during a disastrous 2011 season on a defense that was hung out to dry by a turnover prone offense. He was focused on every play weather UB was in the game or not.
How will Dallas use him?
He is fast, a solid tackler, and is good at creating turnovers, all of that screams special teams status for a fifth round pick. I would be very surprised if he does not end up on kickoff and punt coverage this season while the coaches help him work through some issues with big receivers at the line.
I also see him as a factor in your nickel and dime packages either this year or next. Long term I don't see why he can't be out there in your regular sets once he gets some work at the NFL level.