ASHBURN, Va. -- Shortly after completing his first practice as Washington's head coach, Jim Zorn was asked what he thought of his rookie wide receivers. He basically gave them two thumbs-up, though he emphasized they must learn to be patient.
Yeah, well, try selling that to Michigan State's Devin Thomas.
|Devin Thomas wants to prove himself after being drafted 34th. (AP)|
I mention that because Thomas was supposed to be the first wide receiver off the board, and he was supposed to go in the first round, with some mocks putting him as high as the 11th pick.
Neither happened, which means there's no use telling Devin Thomas about patience.
"Things happen for a reason," he said at Washington's minicamp Friday, "but it's definitely something I keep in the back of my mind. I'm focused on doing my best out there, but as the season gets closer I definitely have that in mind."
"I feel like a lot of teams missed out. Washington got a great thing with me, and I'm very happy here."
Thomas was one of three receivers taken in the second round by Washington. USC tight end Fred Davis was another, and Oklahoma's Malcolm Kelly was the third. But it's Thomas who will be dissected because of what is expected of him -- and it's a lot.
I'm not talking necessarily about Washington as much as I am the rest of the league ... uh-huh, the league that let him slide into its second round. When I consulted scouts and personnel directors prior to the draft, most made Thomas their top wide receiver -- and most gave him a first-round grade.
"We had him rated anywhere from 24 to 32," said one player personnel director. "But there were a lot of trades, and other positions (offensive tackles) were deeper. Plus, there were some first-round reaches.
"So you found there were other positions other than wide receiver that teams had needs for. If there weren't so many trades and a run on tackles he probably would've gone in the first round."
The knock on Thomas was twofold: 1) That he was a one-year wonder, producing big numbers only last season, and 2) that he has trouble running routes. Of course, tell me a rookie wide receiver who doesn't.
"He didn't do a lot of route running in college," said an AFC scout. "They had him do bubble screens, hitches and crossing routes. But you never saw him run an 18-yard 'dig' or a 15-yard comeback. And that's a problem because so many of these college offenses are gimmicky -- with guys running to areas instead of running routes."