Possesses the footwork and body control to cleanly redirect and routinely is able to keep his feet under him. Can be a bit slow to recognize routes in zone coverage and needs to do a better job controlling the space in front of him in off man, sometimes gets too soft and gives up some easy completions underneath. However, possesses a good first step when asked to click and close, has a second gear when asked to track the football and is really rangy and explosive in space.
Love his toughness and willingness to tackle in the run game. Showcases good force when asked to attack downhill, isn't afraid to create collisions on contact when taking on a lead blocker and works hard to fight his way off contact. Fights and scraps for every inch and does a nice job throwing his body around inside the box. Now, doesn't consistently break down and will get a bit out of control at times, but at least showcases the fight to help out in the run game.
Impression: A bit raw in some aspects of the game, but his balance, body control, speed, fluidity and toughness are all traits that will serve him well. I like his upside enough to consider him a potential nickel/dime guy in the NFL."
Thomas started 22 of his final 24 games and relentlessly slammed himself into blockers as a run defender (103 tackles, 7.5 for loss in addition to his interception and 17 pass break-ups in 2009-2010). His aggressive nature can get him into trouble, and he struggles when asked to play press man coverage against bigger receivers. His size limitations aren't going away, and they'll hurt his draft stock, but he's shown enough as a balanced player who moves fluidly and possesses adequate recovery speed to warrant consideration as a sub-package corner with potential as a nickel coverage player in the NFL.
Positives: Plays with attitude. Flies to the ball and never shies away from contact. Is a willing run defender who throws his small frame at ballcarriers and can deliver a big hit. Has nice body control and can contort himself midair to make a play on the ball. Shows good balance in his stance and takes a quick first step off the ball. Uses above-average closing speed to make up for mistakes and break on the football. Does not lose acceleration when changing direction and keeps his balance when coming in and out of cuts. Is at his best in off-man coverage when he can keep the play in front of him. Jumps well and flashes the awareness to deflect passes against bigger receivers. Has started since his freshman season and has plenty of experience. Won a team award for his community service in the Buffalo area.
Negatives: Undersized and can be overwhelmed by big-bodied pass-catchers. Will take false steps when playing press coverage and tends to lunge at receivers when asked to jam. Takes lots of chances and can give up the big play while looking for an interception or monster hit. Trusts his speed too much at times and takes poor angles to the ball. Will lower his head when tackling and can miss ball-carriers entirely when looking for the big hit. Gets feet tangled up when asked to play press man coverage and can pushed around by larger receivers at the line. Does not get off blocks well. Gets caught looking into the backfield and allows craftier receivers to get behind him. Suffered a concussion as a sophomore."
Positive: Athletic cornerback with NFL physical skills. Engages receivers at the line, fluid flipping his hips in transition, and runs with opponents downfield. Smooth and fluid pedaling in reverse and displays a quick break to the throw. Plays an aggressive style of football, always willing to throw a pad into the pile, and quick moving up the field in run defense.
Negative: Loses out in battles. Late reacting to the action and does not consistently play with a sense of awareness on the field.
Analysis: Thomas is an aggressive cornerback who has opposing quarterbacks avoiding him. He must continue to improve his game but has the underlying skills to be a solid nickel back in either man or zone coverage in the NFL."
Negatives: Stats were never really that impressive, only recorded two interceptions and 205 tackles in four years at Buffalo... Is a little better in zone coverage than man-to-man coverage, still needs to polish his man coverage technique... Could stand to add a little bulk to his frame without losing much speed, is a little thin for the position... Can struggle to get off blocks from bigger receivers, will not out-muscle most blockers... Gets a little overaggressive and will get caught out of position, takes some chances and can get caught by play action."
Weaknesses: Can whiff on occasion when caught in one-on-one situations in the open field. Seems to rely on speed to recover - will not have that luxury at the next level. Sometimes appears tentative on initial read. Will round off breaks too often. .
Missed game for concussion late in senior season.
Projection: 7th round."
Thomas did not emerge as a consistent performer as an upperclassman, but he still started ten games in 2009 and had another quality campaign. He broke up nine passes, forced yet another fumble and tallied 45 tackles. The numbers in 2010 were quite similar. Yet again Thomas lacked consistency, but was around to make some big plays too. He also did a little more blitzing during his senior campaign and did a fine job getting into the backfield and getting to the quarterback or stopping a rush attempt.
Thomas is an interesting cornerback. He was on Buffalo's track team and has a lot of speed. But he is not simply a speedy corner; Thomas has plenty of toughness about him. He may not be the strongest corner, but he certainly does not shy away from contact and he will always plays with a healthy amount of physicality. Thomas can lay out some big hits as well and he will be a nice addition to any NFL team in the sixth or seventh round."
Josh Thomas shows questionable Instincts + Diagnostic Skills, which should give Zone Coverage teams plenty of Cause for Pause.
And he's not the most disciplined Corner in the Galaxy.
But Verticity, Verticity, Verticity.
Josh Thomas displays extraordinary talent for Turning + Burning.
...For Redirecting on a DIME.
...For Pivoting on the fly, sustaining his Balance, and firing off in another direction.
And that, ladies and gentleman, is an invaluable skill for a Corner to possess.
And it doesn't hurt that he's a ferocious Tackler and can simply fly.
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