Ian Thomas, TE
School: Indiana | Conference: BIG 10
College Experience: Senior | Age: 22?
Height / Weight: 6-3 / 259 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 4th Round
NFL Comparison: Clive Walford
Ian Thomas is from Baltimore, Maryland and coming out of high school wanted to play football for Towson. He didn't have the grades and had to go to community college (Nassau Community College) where he developed into a 2-star prospect out of Garden City, New York. Thomas had a tough upbringing. He lost both his parents before age 10 and had to be adopted by his brother who was still legally a teenager at the time. His favorite player growing up was former Raven’s TE Todd Heap. Thomas developed at Indiana after his transfer and once he got his opportunity this year he made the most of it. He is a matchup nightmare for linebackers and safeties and is also quicker on film than his timed speed suggests. He can exploit zone coverage and is particularly impressive after the catch. Thomas wasn't asked to block much at Indiana but more trained eyes than mine believe he has the skills and tools to become a very effective blocker once he's coached up. Thomas would love to go home to Baltimore but the Redskins do have a need at TE and could provide the next best desired location for him.
- Excellent size, speed, and athleticism for the position.
- Natural sticky hands with impressive catch radius and range of motion.
- Busts zone coverage across the field and can dominate the middle of the field going down the seams.
- Physical player who doesn't shy away from contact after the ball is in his hands.
- Slightly effective blocker. Has the size, strength, and movement skills to be a good blocking TE but will need to work on his technique especially his punch and hand placement to sustain control against NFL opponents.
- Route running needs work and refinement to become more precise and crisp. He also pretty much ran crossers and seams and will need to learn additional routes.
- Overall raw player who just started playing D1 football two years ago and may take time to get up to speed in all areas.
Let's see his work:
I definitely have a few "my guys" in this draft class. Here are five of them:— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) February 6, 2018
WR DJ Moore, Maryland
TE Ian Thomas, Indiana
OG Isaiah Wynn, Georgia
DT Deadrin Senat, USF
CB/S Rashaan Gaulden, Tennessee https://t.co/Z3QNi5YfJO
Watching Indiana TE Ian Thomas now. Focusing on his run blocking. He goes from really bad in first game of the season vs Ohio State to fairly impressive against Michigan over course of half a season. Classic case of having the ability to do something & needing to unlock it— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) November 21, 2017
How He Would Fit On The Redskins
It’s hard to get a gauge on this tight end class and pin down where the prospects in it will go. I’ve read articles claiming that Thomas is a top 3 tight end in this draft and I’ve seen mocks of him going as low as the 5th round. Thomas has competition at the top of the class with Mike Gesecki, Mark Andrews, Dallas Goedert, and Hayden Hurst all being mentioned as top options. If Thomas does fall to the 4th round I can see him being a wise investment for the Redskins for the two reasons I have mentioned on every tight end profile this year. If you need a refresher the reasons are Jordan Reed cannot be counted on to remain healthy and Vernon Davis’ contract is up after the 2019 season. Thomas receiving skills are the obvious strength of his game along with his athleticism and movement skills. He is dangerous after the catch. To become more well rounded he will need to improve his blocking like most TEs need to do these days. Thomas has been praised in this area more than some of his peers because he improved it as the season wore on. It's also clear he has the frame and body type to do it and it is a matter of him learning the technique which will determine his success. With a year or two under his belt in the NFL, I think Thomas could emerge as a strong starting-caliber tight end.