They call the time leading up to the NFL Draft the “silly season” for a reason. One of the biggest events of the offseason is the NFL Combine, where prospects get a chance to workout in front of NFL scouts.
Many players can do a lot to improve their stock, but the obsession with measurements also obscures what a player can accomplish on the field.
UConn WR Noel Thomas is familiar with that. Despite a 100-catch senior season dealing with inconsistent quarterback play, Thomas ran a 4.63 40-yard dash in Indianapolis, which ends up on the slow end for wide receivers.
Thomas would get another opportunity to get a timed run in from of NFL scouts at UConn’s Pro Day on Wednesday, where he ran an unofficial 4.42 in front of 25 scouts from 20 teams.
“I wanted to come out here and get that taste out of my mouth,” he said. “I don’t know the exact time but I know it wasn’t 4.6.”
Not all was lost from the combine, though. Thomas said that he unofficially met with nearly every team and received some good feedback.
“All of them appreciate my hands and they wanted to see me run,” he said. “It’s kind of just conversations. They try to feel what kind of person you are, see if you fit in with their program.”
While the entire draft process is difficult to prepare for, Thomas has gotten advice from some former teammates who recently went through it.
“I talk to Geremy Davis every day. He’s like a big bro to me,” said Thomas. “I was actually training with Andrew [Adams] in Atlanta too. I talk to these guys all the time.
“They lay it out for you. You can’t really know until you experience it but I had a feel for it coming in.”
During his second 40-yard dash, Thomas tweaked his hamstring so did not participate the rest of the day. While he admitted he was frustrated, Thomas ran routes at the combine and will hope his game tape does the talking. With a lull in between Pro Day and the NFL Draft beginning April 27, Thomas has time to recover if another opportunity arises.
“Your body is your biggest asset,” he said. “First things first, I need to get my body right. I’ll be training in Connecticut up until I have a workout, interview or the draft.”
Thomas is projected to be picked anywhere within the mid-to-late-rounds. He certainly has the ability as a pass-catcher to be productive at the next level even if his measurables aren’t jumping off the page. Even without a full performance at the Pro Day, improving his 40-yard dash time went a long way towards improving his draft stock.