Posted on: March 14, 2011 9:11 pm

RB Thomas won't run at Tuesday's KSU Pro Day

Kansas State running back Daniel Thomas continues to be plagued by a hamstring pull and has informed teams that he will not be running at his university's Pro Day workout, according to multiple NFL sources.

The 6-0, 230 pound Thomas is NFLDraftScout.com's No. 5 rated running backs for the 2011 draft. His size, strength, lateral agility and vision are impressive -- especially considering the fact that he's only played the position for two seasons.

Thomas, who played quarterback at Northwest Mississippi Community College, signed with Kansas State largely because they promised to let him play running back, rather than switch him to defense as most teams wanted to do.

He was an immediate star for the Wildcats, earning the Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year with a conference-leading 1,265 rushing yards, including 11 scores. Thomas was even better as a senior, rushing for 1,585 and 19 touchdowns.

Scouts are concerned about Thomas' pure speed, however, making it very important for him to run for teams prior to the draft. Thomas cited left hamstring tightness as the reason why he wasn't able to work out at the Combine or participate in the Senior Bowl.

One league source, flying to Manhattan, Kansas for the workout despite getting the news, was not happy.

"[Kansas State] has some other talent there, but he's the reason I'm going. No one is expecting [Thomas] to run in the 4.4s, but you'd like to get a time on the guy. It is pretty tought to make the argument he's a second or third round guy when you can see on tape that speed is a question."

Neither source had yet been notified of a new Pro Day for Thomas.
Posted on: March 6, 2011 12:26 pm

Sources: Fairley, not Cam, "one to worry about"

Much of the attention following the Combine has been centered on the team interviews with quarterbacks Cam Newton, Ryan Mallett and others, but according to three sources from different clubs, it is another high profile player who set off the most alarms at the Combine.

Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley was described as a "JUCO kid to the core" by one longtime personnel man, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

By "JUCO" the source is, of course, referring to the fact that Fairley played junior college football (Copiah-Lincoln Community College) prior to starring at Auburn. Asked to elaborate why being a "JUCO kid" is a bad thing, the source explained.

"Just because a player went to a junior college doesn't mean, he's a bad guy or won't be successful at this level, obviously. There are lots of junior college players who have gone on to great NFL careers."

The stereotype is that JUCO players aren't as smart, hard-working, and well coached. They are also viewed by many clubs as players most likely to have had off-field troubles in the past and potentially more in the future. The source refused to go into specifics, but said, "Everyone is coming down hard on the quarterback, but [Fairley] is the one to worry about."

Despite measuring in at a shade under 6-4 (6037) and lighter than expected (291 pounds), Fairley "looked soft," according to the source. This first impression of Fairley's conditioning was only reinforced by his "limited" understanding of defensive schemes during team interviews. The source also referred to the fact that Fairley doesn't use his hands well and has been able to be successful largely due to his natural talent.

"Oh, I'm not saying he's not talented. Hell, he might be the most talented player in the whole damn thing. But, he's no slam dunk at this level. Not the slam dunk people who watched him tear up the SEC or in the big game [BCS National Championship] might think."

The other sources weren't as forthcoming with details, but didn't sound surprised when I told them I heard that Fairley was slipping down boards and that, as such, I had pushed him from No. 2 in the mock draft I'd written prior to the Combine to No. 8 in my current one.
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