Thomas Eagerly Anticipating NFL Draft

Auburn, Ala.--One of the key players in the <!--Default NodeId For Auburn is 747,2004--><A HREF=>Auburn</A> football team's defensive successes in recent seasons is ready to move on to the next level. He hopes to find out this weekend just exactly where that might be.

Dontarrious Thomas, one of the more productive linebackers in recent AU history, is expected to be selected in this weekend's National Football League draft. Generally predicted to be a second to third round selection, Thomas is a player whose stock may be on the rise.

The first two rounds of the draft are scheduled for Saturday and rounds three through seven will be held on Sunday.

"I don't have a feel about who is going to draft me or when I might go," Thomas tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "I don't want to really worry too much about that. I am just hoping that I hear my name called on the first day and I am trying to stay calm about it. I am really not sure what team is most likely to draft me. Whoever it is, I hope it is a team in which I can come in and contribute."

Dontarrious Thomas (54) and Spencer Johnson (53) prepare for a snap in Auburn's 2003 victory over Tennessee.

As a senior, Thomas made a move from outside linebacker to the middle spot where he earned first team All-SEC honors from the league's coaches as did fellow linebacker Karlos Dansby, who is also projected to be an early NFL draft pick. Thomas finished the season with 75 tackles, which was second on the team, nine behind Dansby.

"I believe pro teams are looking at me as both an inside and an outside linebacker," says Thomas, who worked out with his friend and teammate . "I think I have shown them that I have the versatility to play either position."

In addition to Thomas and Dansby, other Tigers hoping to hear their names called in the NFL Draft include defensive end Reggie Torbor, noseguard Demarco McNeil, wide receiver Jeris McIntyre, defensive tackle Spencer Johnson and offensive linemen Mark Pera and Monreko Crittenden.

"I am getting very nervous as the draft gets closer and I am getting excited, too," says Thomas.

Doing well in pre-draft workouts for pro scouts is one of the reasons for his excitement. "I think everything went well in that area," Thomas notes. "I think I am one of the fastest linebackers at my size (247) pounds and I think I tested out at the top in the vertical jump and broad jump." He had a best vertical jump of 41 inches and a best standing broad jump of 10 feet, 10 inches. He also ran a good 40-yard dash time of 4.51.

Another attribute of Thomas, who has been an honor student all of his life, is that he has plenty of brains to go along with his brawn."I think that is a plus," he says. "The fact that I already have my degree is something that I think some of the teams are taking into consideration. I believe it shows that I am a responsible person."

When asked if he has a favorite NFL team, Thomas says, "It's always been the Oakland Raiders since I was a kid. I started liking them when Bo Jackson was playing for them."

Thomas says he plans to watch the draft on TV at his apartment in Auburn with family members. "Right now I am just making sure the teams that are interested in me have all of the information they need like how to get in touch with me on draft day and all of that," he says. "This is an exciting time for me."

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