Sunday, April 25, 2010


2010 NFL Draft: Denver Don't Discount Demaryius!

by Scott Wilson Written on April 23, 2010

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

He is a gifted athlete. Some may just call him a gift. He was born on Christmas Day in 1987, and he was drafted on Josh McDaniels birthday.

His name is Demaryius Antwon Thomas, but get used to calling him Bay Bay. Born and raised in Georgia, he became a star athlete at West Laurens High School in Dublin, GA. His upbringing wasn't the most stable situation, but he credited living with his uncle who provided some strict discipline with helping him to get to college.

"Basically, when I was coming up, my mother and my grandmother got put in prison and I always told myself that I didn't want to get into a position to get myself into no trouble. So, I've been around the right crowd... Once I did that, everything changed in my life. I always wanted to be around the right crowd and didn't want to get in no trouble. I didn't want to be that guy that is always talked about that he's a bad guy and so, I just put myself around the right crowd."

He committed to play at Georgia Tech in 2006, and redshirted his freshman year under Coach Chan Gailey. In 2007, his redshirt freshman season he burst on the ACC scene with 35 catches for 558 yards and 4 touchdowns. He was named to the ACC All-Freshman and honorable mention to the Freshman All-American squads.

A coaching change prior to the 2008 season resulted in a major offensive scheme change and a limited role for Thomas to impact the game. With Paul Johnson's triple-option he became an intregal part of the downfield blocking, but still managed 39 catches for 627 yards.

In his junior season Bay Bay really broke out with 46 catches going for an astonishing 1,154 yards and eight touchdowns. In a triple-option offense those numbers are mind-boggling. His 25 yards per catch average has "playmaker" written all over him, as many times he was in double-coverage and underthrown.

He decided to leave school after his junior year because he felt under-utilized in the offensive system, which is probably right, and now has proven to be a smart choice.

In his live press conference earlier today, Bay Bay said that at Georgia Tech he basically only had two or three routes to run in games, and that was a factor in his decision to leave early. He said that he practiced many routes but they were not used in games.

Just prior to the NFL combine, he ran a videotaped 4.38 40-yard dash; an amazing time for a six-foot three inch player weighing 224 pounds. Then while training for the 3-cone drill he broke his foot. That video tape proved to be another gift as he wasn't able to run drills at the combine for NFL scouts.

The conflicting opinions on his route running, blocking ability, and deep speed created a divided opinion about Demaryius' top-end potential in the draft. Even if he ran a 4.5 forty that still puts him in the size/speed combination of former Bronco Brandon Marshall. His blocking ability is certainly something that can get him on the field in his rookie season, and anyone doubting his impact in run-blocking need only watch the Georgia Tech-Clemson ACC championship game tape to see him flatten multiple defenders.

Even Bay Bay was surprised that he was chosen before Dez Bryant, but he did say "I know I am a better person than Dez."

Coach McDaniels said that the Broncos had graded Thomas higher than Dez Bryant, and believes that he can understand the offensive system. He feels that Bay Bay can use his size and speed to create matchup problems and get a high yard-per-catch average in the NFL, just as he did in the ACC. In his visit with the Broncos the coaches put him through the Broncos routes and came away impressed at his ability to pick them up quickly.

On his recovery from the broken foot, he said earlier today that he is 95% right now and should be 100% within two to three weeks.

Demaryius stated that "I know I need help, so I hope to get help from the veterans." His route running needs to be crisper and he needs to sell some of his fakes better, but that is coachable. There is an old adage that you can't coach size and you can't coach speed, both of which Thomas has been gifted with.

Bronco fans can't wait to see if this gift is one that keeps on giving.

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