Oregon QB Darron Thomas Leaving for 2012 NFL Draft
Per GoDucks.com writer Andy McNamara, through NFLspinzone.com (how about those draft terms, eh?), Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas is leaving for the NFL.
Thomas has started for the Ducks since 2010, replacing Jeremiah Masoli who transfered to Ole Miss prior to the 2010 season.
He has thrown for 30 touchdowns in 2010 as well as 33 in 2011 with just nine and seven interceptions, respectively, also leading the Ducks to a 23-3 record (missed Colorado in 2011).
Oregon lost to Auburn in the 2011 National Championship game as they faced Cam Newton, losing 22-19. Thomas threw for 363 yards, completing 27 of 40 passes in that game.
NFL Draft Analysis
This is a very surprising move, mostly because Thomas just doesn’t scream quarterback at the next level.
Despite his exceptional TD/INT ratio, many of his throws are quick slants, screens, etc. in which players like DeAnthony Thomas, LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner took for big yardage and a score.
His throwing motion is slow and he lacks much zip on his passes, while also struggling to read defenses post-snap.
In a shotgun spread with a Heisman Trophy candidate running back, and a one read system in the Pac-12, it doesn’t seem hard to put up big numbers.
Granted, Thomas could see an NFL Combine invite (Feb. 22nd-28th), and prove that he can play quarterback.
He has solid size at 6’3 215, but looks like a clone to fellow Oregon standout Dennis Dixon, who now serves as the third string quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Thomas and Dixon were both very mobile quarterbacks that posted similar statistics in the same system, although instead of LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner, Dixon had Jonathan Stewart and Jeremiah Johnson.
Some character concerns could rise as Thomas was in the car with former Oregon standout cornerback Cliff Harris when Harris was pulled over for speeding and suspicion of narcotics.
Both players were reportedly smoking marijuana. Harris was kicked off of Oregon’s team after numerous run ins with the law, and will also be entering the 2012 NFL Draft.
The decision of Darron Thomas to come out is baffling as he simply does not have the physical tools as a quarterback to play the position at the next level, nor the intangibles.
Right now it’d be difficult to put anything higher than a sixth or seventh round grade on him.