by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of Nola.com.
At Draft 412, the NFL draft talk never ends. We will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars—from today and all the way until draft night 2024. We will bring you mock drafts, player profiles, individual team needs, and everything else you may need related to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Today’s Spotlight - LSU, Wide Receiver, Brian Thomas Jr.
Name- Brian Thomas Jr.
Pos- Wide Receiver
HT/WT- 6’4” 205 lbs.
Home – Walker, LA
Brian Thomas was a two-sports standout at Walker High School just outside Baton Rouge, excelling in both basketball and football. He earned four-star ratings from ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports. He was selected to play in the 2021 Adidas All-American Bowl, and elected to stay at home and commit to LSU.
In his freshman season, Thomas played in 12 games, starting 9 and caught 28 passes for 359 yards and 2 touchdowns in a productive rookie campaign. Last season, though he appeared in 13 games and started 6 of them, he did not see the rise in production that was expected. He finished his sophomore campaign with 31 receptions for 361 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Through 5 games in 2023, Thomas has already set a career high in catches (33), yards (537) and touchdowns (8), and has been a great compliment to future first round receiver Malik Nabers.
Thomas runs smooth routes for a larger receiver and with his long strides and arms, creates separation and offers a wide catch radius for his quarterback. He uses his strong hands to snare passes and high point balls. He has great body control and makes frequent acrobatic catches that seem effortless. He gets off the line of scrimmage quickly and has a powerful initial burst and is aggressive on 50/50 balls. He’s an experienced route runner and does a sufficient job of coming back to the ball if needed.
On the downside, Thomas does not have the top gear that most #1’s in the NFL have. He is quick but not fast, and he lacks the twitch to beat you on slants and double moves. He has had an issue with drops from time to time and in the past two seasons, he has lacked big yards after the catch. Thomas is not the most creative runner with the ball and isn’t a willing blocker, flashing moments of laziness in the run game.
Though D.J. Chark is a tad-bit faster than Brian Thomas, these two LSU wide receivers undoubtedly mirror each other's games. Both are smooth route runners who lack the herky-jerky movements but can go up for a 50/50 ball and bring it down. Both have played the wide receiver position lined up next to superstars and have still produced when schemed to. Chark played with Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson, and of course Thomas is playing next to Malik Nabers.
Explosive short area
Fluid route runner
Brian Thomas Jr. is having a huge season, and with over 500 yards already, he is on pace for a 1,200 yard season for the Tigers. He will never get drafted as high as Malik Nabers, but he definitely has a chance to get selected on day 2.
Draft 412 Draft Projection - Round 3 or Round 4