Scouting the M-West: UNLV

A terribly disappointing year for UNLV, capped off by an equally horrible campaign for Jason Thomas as much more was expected after a bowl appearance the prior season. This team can be explosive on offense and has several solid prospects that will filter throughout the 2003 draft.

UNLV Rebels

Poor Jason Thomas; while many, including ourselves, were guilty of overrating him at this point last season, the same number of people if not more are just as guilty of writing him off going into the '02 season. The physical attributes have been talked about, justifiably so, as has the poor decision making and overall inconsistent play of last season. For the most part Thomas is fundamentally sound, (except for a few passes thrown off his backfoot) and he makes all the throws in or out of the pocket, both on the move or in a drop back stance. He is big and strong, and will draw comparisons to Duante Culpepper as his playing style is similar whether throwing the ball or tucking it under his arm and running with it. Last season Thomas did not show the same feel for the game as in '00 and wilted under pressure, throwing with sporadic accuracy. Breaking him down on film one of the biggest faults we saw was an inconsistent point of release, which factored into Thomas spraying his passes. He also seemed to be putting a lot of effort into his throws, why? While many want to write-off Thomas based on the poor results from last year none seem to remember, or even know, that the fireball thrower had surgery on his passing shoulder just prior to the start of practice last August. This, more than anything else, affected him both mentally and physically. We are going to give Thomas the benefit of the doubt and we feel he has first round skills and will ultimately move back into the initial frame after his senior campaign. Running back Joe Haro is a hard working ball carrier best between the tackles but poor size/speed numbers may leave him out of the draft. Troy Mason is a thinly framed wide out with solid route running skills and could find his way into the late rounds with good pre-draft workouts, possibly making it as a team's fourth receiver. Tight end DeJhown Mandley has size, size potential and is a real fine athlete but not a very active football player. He must really pick up the intensity and involvement of his game to get draft consideration but at the very least is a rookie free agent next April. Lastly, one of our favorite prospects on this unit is guard Tony Terrell, a hard-working and technically sound lineman equally effective blocking for the run or passing game. Terrell is strong at the point and a leverage blocker that uses all his assets to remove opponents from the play. He is quick, nasty and never off his feet. That said Terrell's downfall would be the inability to play in anything other than restricted quarters but he is a good bet to hear his name called in the middle frames.

Defensively, end Ahmad Briggs will draw attention from scouts as he is an undersized pass rusher that displays speed but a prospect that may be better suited for outside linebacker.



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