Thomas finished his college career as the Pac-10 Conference all-time leading receiver with 259 receptions, after finishing his senior season with 74 catches for 825 yards and four touchdowns, while also returning 29 punts for 392 yards (13.5 avg.) and two scores. After impressing scouts at both the East-West Shrine game and the Senior Bowl, Thomas headed to Indianapolis to participate in the National Scouting Combine, and slay yet another dragon in the pre-Draft process. This is his account of the experience.
I arrived on Thursday, the 19th and there were folks from the NFL at the airport to get us checked in and onto the shuttle bus which took us to the hotel for a quick change and unpacking of our bags before heading to the hospital for the first series of medical exams.
The team doctors drew blood and took X-rays of players after we disclosed our medical history. After informing them of the surgery I had on my hand during my freshman year they took an X-ray and then I went onto the other stations, which included hooking up to a machine to check my heart. The hospital stay lasted from 1:00 to 4:00pm.
Dinner was at 6 pm and the GM of the Ravens, Ozzie Newsome, spoke to us about the Combine experience, that we are being watched all the time and to be mindful of our actions.
After dinner, there was time for us to hang out with scouts and team executives. I spoke with about 15 or 16 teams during this time. I enjoyed speaking with the Broncos about what kind of coaching styles that different players respond to. The Raiders also mentioned using me as a gunner on punt team in addition to my receiver duties, and I told them I was willing to do whatever helps the team.
When things came to a close, I was dog tired and went straight to bed.
I woke up early Friday morning, 4:30 am, in order to get a good spot on line for the drug test. After breakfast, I went for my physical. There were around eight teams represented in a room by their doctor’s in four different rooms. The whole process went faster for me since I had filled out a lot of the medical history paperwork already when I played in the East-West and Senior Bowl games prior to the Combine.
Since I had some time to spare after my early finish, I headed over to the Perfect Competition suite, where I was able to get massages for whatever area needed work-for me, my legs and back were a priority, and get good eatin’ kind of food- chicken, fruit and salad.
Perfect Competition, out of Davie, FL, is where I did my Combine training and its one of the best facilities in the country. They have a consistent track record of top finishes at the Combine, across all positions, and that was a big reason why I went there. My trainer, Pete Bommarito, definitely knows what he’s doing, and he was on hand to reinforce my starting technique and other aspects of my running form to help me with my forty. The PC suite also had an Xbox, two flat screens and movies (Hustle & Flow) going on for us to relax. I really appreciated having this place to go during the busy Combine week. The other receivers I worked out with all got along great- there was no bad flavor toward anyone. Kevin (Ogletree), (Demetrius) Byrd and Johnny Knox (Abilene Christian) and I hung out quite a bit during the week after training together.
At the end of the day, I headed back to the interview room where I ended up speaking with the other 15 or so teams that I didn’t get to talk to Thursday evening. Some of my scheduled 15 minute interviews included the Lions, Jacksonville, Carolina and Pittsburgh. You go into their suite and everyone from the head coach, GM and President could be sitting there in front of you. They wanted to know what kind of person am I, my background, strengths and weaknesses, do I have a criminal record, things like that. The Jaguars had me draw up my favorite play- which was a four wide set, vertical route where the slot receivers and the outside wide receiver can switch responsibilities.
When I spoke with Pittsburgh, I made Coach Tomlin chuckle with my response to their question, “what are you gonna run in the forty”? I told them, “something electrifying”. It was a fun moment.
The last interview ended at 10:15pm and I went right to bed after that.
Saturday was a little more of a cut out day. After breakfast and the Wonderlic test-which felt like the fastest 12 minutes of my life, I did the weigh-in, where they also measured my height, arm length and hand width, before heading into the bio-pod, which measures body fat percentage. The bench press was next, which I decided to skip and possibly do at my Pro Day later on in March.
I was free after that, so I met with my agent, Ron Slavin from BTI Sports Advisors and then went back to the PC suite again to work on my forty starts. It was a nice, quiet day on Saturday.
After breakfast on Sunday morning, I got a breakfast shake from the PC bunker and then it was on to the Vertical Jump, which I registered 40.5 inches (3rd overall).
The forty yard dash was next. I was relaxed and more excited than anything else, that I finally got the chance to show teams how fast I am. I ran track before so I knew I was gonna run fast. My agent and I heard from numerous teams afterward that had my first forty between 4.25 to 4.27 and my second forty between 4.27 to 4.29 seconds. It was great to hear those sub-4.3 times directly from NFL teams after seeing different times posted at the Combine that ranged from 4.31 to 4.40.
The position drills were next and they went pretty good too. I enjoyed the gauntlet drill and then performed well in the agility drills- 3cone (6.65- third overall), short shuttle and broad jump (10’6”- sixth overall).
I was really proud of my effort, and very happy with my Combine results. My agent and I kicked back at a nearby restaurant and enjoyed the moment before packing up and heading to Arizona to prepare for my Pro Day in March. I’m looking forward to excelling there and building a head of steam heading into the Draft in late April.