Chargers Draft Analysis: RB Marcus Thomas

Jaime Cattano proceeds with her five-part series examining the Chargers' draft selections. In the fifth round, the Bolts picked up another running back to pair with Jacob Hester in the quest to replace Michael Turner. With a solid and powerful frame, Marcus Thomas runs with a powerful body lean that will give him an edge over his opponents.

Who He Is

Marcus Thomas of the UTEP had a breakout senior year with the Miners, registering 1,266 yards and 16 touchdowns. He averaged more than 5 yards per carry. At 6'2" and 215 pounds, Thomas concluded his collegiate career with 2,615 yards rushing and 26 rushing touchdowns, both totals ranking him in the top five in school annals.

What's To Like

Thomas is an experienced route-runner with great hands, making him a reliable receiver out of the backfield. He demonstrates powerful force by plowing through arm tackles with determination and invites combat with defenders. Thomas displays clever poise when reading the action and attacks gaps hard with perfect timing.

Thomas is a physical player with an athletic build and tall frame that shows potential for extra muscle mass. He proves successful getting through the initial wave of the defense with deceptive speed. Thomas holds a high football IQ that is necessary to make an impact with the big dogs. With his eagerness and enthusiasm, he makes him an ideal developmental player.

What's Not To Like

Thomas lacks breakaway speed and has only moderate explosiveness and acceleration. He needs to show more quickness to sell fakes and misdirect defenders. While he lacks elite lateral mobility, he also has the tendency to elongate his torso, over-exposing his body and the ball to opponents.

Who The Bolts Passed Up

The Bolts selected of Marcus Thomas instead of Thomas Brown, who was the next running back drafted. As Brown heads to the Atlanta Falcons, he brings alluring speed and impressive initial quickness. Although he has a powerful desire to break tackles, he does not have the ability to move the pile like the more powerful Thomas.

Brown proves inconsistent in his efforts and his 5'9", 204-pound body lacks the necessary durability at the next level. While Brown may be too small to be effective, Thomas' promising build stretches his potential to see field time in the pros.

Looking Forward

The Bolts used the draft to provide depth behind LaDainian Tomlinson, since Michael Turner headed over to the Atlanta Falcons via free agency. Two of the three players the Bolts drafted in the first five rounds were running backs, so it's clear they are determined to enter next season fully stocked behind L.T.

Thomas is a physical blocker who has far from peaked. He will be a force to stir competition and bolster the depth in case of injury.

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