Mock Draft Spotlight: WR Demaryius Thomas

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*ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay both have Georgia Tech wide receiver Demaryius Thomas going to the Ravens at No. 25. Here's a little more information about Thomas just in case they're right.
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Maybe it's mostly because they both played the same position at the same college.

But Georgia Tech wide receiver prospect Demaryius Thomas and the Detroit Lions' Calvin Johnson are getting a decent amount of comparisons these days.

If Thomas ends up being a similar player to Johnson, then some team in the NFL is going to get an absolute steal. Mel Kiper and Todd McShay of ESPN feel that team will be the Ravens.

Baltimore already took a couple steps to bolster its receiving corps this offseason in trading for Anquan Boldin and signing Donte' Stallworth. But Kiper believes the Ravens would like to find a player to develop behind its current weapons.

"He needs a little bit of time," Kiper said.

Thomas put up huge numbers during his senior year of college, catching 46 passes for 1,154 yards and eight touchdowns. That's' the second-most yards in Georgia Tech history behind, you guessed it, Calvin Johnson. Thomas broke the school and ACC record with a 25.1 yard average per catch.

Stats can be somewhat deceiving, however.

Thomas played in Coach Paul Johnson's triple-option, run-based offense. While that meant fewer passing plays, it also caused opposing safeties to move into the box to help support against the run and left Thomas deep in one-on-one coverage against smaller cornerbacks.

His size (6-foot-3), body control, strong hands and speed meant Thomas won that battle more often than not. The question is whether all those tools translate to the NFL level.

The criticism of Thomas is that he doesn't run good routes, which means it's difficult to see how or if he would be able to break free from NFL cornerbacks. Georgia Tech's system drastically limited the types of routes he was asked to run.

"It was basically throw the bubble screen, let him run and use that 6-3, 225-pound frame and all that speed or throw it up deep to him," Kiper said. "That was it; throw it up or short pass."

Still, many wide receivers have a steep learning curve when it comes to adjusting to NFL defenses and the Ravens are fully aware of that fact. Receivers quite simply can take longer to develop.

Thomas could have answered some of his critics' questions had he not broken his foot training for the Combine. He originally stated he would conduct a Pro Day on April 12, but that has been pushed back to April 18, just four days before the draft.

"I'll be the last man standing," Thomas joked in an interview with the Sporting News.

While there are plenty of concerns surrounding Thomas, there's obvious upside. And, as is the case with many late-round prospects, those positives could be enough to warrant a call from the Ravens.

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