As the Kansas City Chiefs continue their OTA sessions this week, last years fourth round draft pick, Wide Receiver, De’Anthony Thomas, appears primed to show what he can really do with the football in his hands.
A year ago Thomas spent the early stages of his rookie season fighting injuries. This year, with an entire off-season in Kansas City, the second year speedster has already been turning heads on the practice field.
To say he’s fast, would be an insult to our intelligence as Chiefs fans. To say, Head Coach, Andy Reid, isn’t salivating about the horrors he can create facing opposing defenses when Thomas is on the field, might be deliciously priceless to ponder.
Last year Thomas showed his dual talents on special teams and in the passing game. For his part, Reid had to show patience with the man Chiefs fans affectionately refer to as DAT.
Sidelined with a strained hamstring the first quarter of 2014, Thomas found himself on the sidelines and off the practice field. Forget the game experience he missed it was the reps in practice that ultimately slowed his progress down to a crawl during the rehabilitation of his injury.
The hamstring is a mighty fine instrument for a man as fast as Thomas. For someone, who relies on speed to strike fear on the football field, it just made his rookie season more difficult missing so much time on the field.
It’s clear, as the OTA sessions continue, the Chiefs off-season plan to reconfigure their offense can be seen up close and personal on the practice field. With a new offensive line, an All-Pro wide receiver, veteran quarterback, running back and tight end, Kansas City has a plethora of options in creating a diverse offense.
However, not many teams possess a player like Thomas that can deliver a knockout punch whenever he touches the ball. Add those speed abilities with that of All World Running Back, Jamaal Charles, and this offense could be down right amazing in 2015.
Still Thomas is entering his second year, and though he looks good right now without the weight of pads on his shoulders or big men trying to knock him to the ground, the young man exhumes potential.
It’s one thing to be blessed with speed but it’s another to when how to use when the balls is in your hands. If he’s truly going to be a game changer for the Chiefs on offense and special teams, he has to use that speed wisely.
On the flip side, the head coach has to show some restrain from turning Thomas into a gimmick player. Former Chiefs Head Coach, Dick Vermeil, took the same approach with Dante Hall. He was a great return man but a below average receiver.
Thomas isn’t as gifted a return man to this point of his career as the Human Joystick, but he’s a far better receiver and runner in open spaces. What Hall became was a wild card. What Thomas can become is special.
Again with all the options open to Reid in reinventing his offense in 2015, Thomas brings a combination of known and unknown to the game plan. On one hand, his speed makes him dangerous. Yet again he’s still a young player that has to learn to run better routes and have the ability to assimilate the entire playbook.
If he can master the latter of the two, then Reid can use Thomas as a decoy or as a weapon.
Either way opposing defenses are going to be on high alert when he’s on the field. If he can make just enough plays to showcase his skills, and gain confidence at the same time, Reid will possess one of the best offensive weapons in the AFC West.
Photos Courtesy of Kirby Lee & Denny Medley USA Today Sports