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Brian Thomas Jr. Draft Profile

Scouting Report

LSU Wide Receiver, Brian Thomas Jr. aligns as an X-receiver, but showed an ability to line up in the slot as well for the Tigers. He has three years of starting experience in the SEC and had a break-out season this year as a true junior. He caught 69 passes for over 1,100 yards, 17 touchdowns, and averaged over 17 yards per catch. Born and raised in Walker, LA, Thomas lettered in both football and basketball in high school. In his final year at LSU, he and Malik Nabers became arguably the best receiving duo in college football; now they are two of the most exciting players in this year’s draft.


The most discernible strength of Thomas’ game is his speed; and when I say speed, not just speed when running the 40, but game speed. Thomas is a dangerous threat at the third level of the field; this year he caught ten touchdowns longer than 25 yards. While he is a dangerous deep ball receiver, he also does a good job getting downfield after the catch. Standing at 6’3, Thomas is a long strider and is able to reach a second gear as he builds up speed. He didn’t have the most advanced route-tree at LSU, but demonstrated a good feel for timing and uses his stop-start burst to change his pace in the middle of his route. Against man coverage, Thomas attacks the defender’s blind spot and hits that second gear as soon as the defensive back loses sight. Thomas has the in-game feel and physical ability to be a high level iso-receiver in the NFL.


Teams are going to rely on Thomas as an explosive threat, not a dependable one. From an effort standpoint, Thomas’ competitive nature is of question. Whether it is an unwillingness to contribute as a run-blocker or apparent laziness when he isn’t the featured target, Thomas' body language and attitude are inconsistent.  He is not dependable and that shows up when having to catch the football; Thomas’ hands are not natural. Whether he is letting the ball get into his body or double-catching passes he does not have the catch radius that receivers of his size are adept at. He tracks the ball well which is why he is such a threat at the third level, but lacks awareness for where he is on the field. While his physical features are going to enamor NFL teams, he isn’t a polished prospect.


Thomas has a lot of room for improvement which is not a bad thing. While his long speed is what sticks out immediately, his upper-body twitch and foot quickness will help him develop a more diverse route-trees. While his feet are quick, his ankles are stiff which causes wasted steps when he plants and rounded cuts. Teams will put an emphasis on him using his frame to his advantage; he has a big body, but doesn’t play like he does. In the bowl-game, there were moments where he’d use physicality to gain separation, but during the regular season corners like Terrion Arnold and Ennis Rakestraw Jr. smothered him using their's. With that being said, learning how to harness his strength and frame as both a route-runner and to contribute as a run-blocker will further his role and get him on the field more often.


Scouts are going to fall in love with his traits, and coaches will fall in love with the idea of getting the most out of him. Thomas' success will come down to his work ethic and willingness to go hard on every play. His combination of speed and size while having inconsistent ball-skills and untapped physicality reminds me of Christian Watson. His physical intangibles are going to make him a top-25 pick in the draft, but I have a second round grade on him due to on-field character concerns. In the NFL, he will primarily be an outside receiver that will be asked to stretch the field vertically, but will need to prove that he can consistently make an impact even when the ball isn't in his hands.

Draft Grade

Speed: 8.89/10 (Excellent)

Separation Skills: 6.67/10 (Good)

Hands + Catch Radius: 4.44/10 (Average)

Route Running: 5.56/10 (Above Average)

Physicality + Play Strength: 3.56/8 (Average)

Body Control + Movement Skills: 3.56/8 (Average)

After the Catch: 4/6 (Good)

Playmaker: 4/6 (Good)

Short-Area Quickness: 3.33/5 (Good)

Competitiveness + Intelligence + Effort: 2.22/5 (Average)

Overall: 46.23/78 (.593)

Final Rating: Above Average NFL Receiver

Projected Position: X Receiver

Pro Comparison: Christian Watson

Draft Projection: Top 25 Pick

Draft Grade: High - Mid Second Round Pick

Team Fits: Jaguars, Bills, Chiefs, Cardinals

Brian Thomas Jr.
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