Mel Kiper raves about Tech’s Bay-Bay, broken foot aside

Demaryius Thomas turns a short pass into six points. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Thomas turns a short pass into points. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Say this for Mel Kiper: When he likes a guy, he really likes a guy. (Think of Mel as the Sally Field of draftniks.) And Mel really likes Demaryius Thomas, the Georgia Tech product who had the seeming misfortune of breaking a bone in his foot last week while readying for the NFL draft.

You’d think a broken foot might give a draft-tracker cause for pause, but not our Mel. (Actually, he’s ESPN’s Mel. But I like to think he belongs to us all.) And here, in a mailbag just released on the Worldwide Leader’s Insiders site — all Mel links require registration — is a question from a reader regarding Thomas, who’s known fondly as Bay-Bay, and Mel’s cogent answer:

Q: I’m excited about the possibility of D. Thomas out of Ga. Tech, but he’s not from a passing offense! Isn’t this a guy who might not help the team at all early in his career because he’s still learning? Why don’t the Bengals get more of a sure thing? – Aaron K. (Cincinnati)

A: Look at it from the other perspective, Aaron. Look at a guy who thrived despite the fact that he was in a running offense and any time the ball was in the air, everybody on the field knew it was headed his way, and they still couldn’t stop it. Here’s what I see: Thomas is highly-skilled. He’s a feared vertical threat, with really impressive size. In the Tech offense, either he went deep and they just threw it up and he’d catch it (and he did many times), or they threw a quick-hitter close to the line of scrimmage and asked him to run. What he’ll need to develop is that intermediate game, picking up on the NFL-style routes. He also has foot questions like Michael Crabtree had that will limit him, but look at Crabtree. He didn’t fall that far. Thomas will have some “raw” to him, but you’re talking about a guy that could have been totally dominant, a top 10 pick if he’s coming out of a pro style offense like USC. If Cincy passes, Baltimore could land him, or perhaps the Jets. So passing on him could help some other teams add even greater value.

I post this because I’m starting to hear the knocks on Thomas from some of you — maybe it’s just me being suspicious, but I’m thinking a few such knocks are coming from Georgia fans — and I can’t imagine my response being any more pointed than Mel’s.

Over the past two seasons Tech completed 152 passes; Thomas caught 85 of them (55.9 percent). Over that span he accounted for 1,781 of the Jackets’ 3,064 yards receiving (58.1 percent). Opponents didn’t have to cover many receivers — Tech doesn’t have a tight end on its roster — and still they couldn’t cover Thomas. Imagine him in a system where three wideouts and a tight end were routinely deployed. (Like, say, Georgia’s.)

As for the impact of Bay-Bay’s boo-boo: Kiper hasn’t redone his mock draft, which last week had Thomas going to Cincinnati with the 21st pick in Round 1, but he has updated his Big Board. And he has Thomas rated as the 25th-best prospect, down only four spots from last week. That’s not much of a slip for a broken foot, is it? Which can only mean …

Mel is sold on Bay-Bay. And I’m with Mel on this one.

67 comments Add your comment

gt_blume

February 25th, 2010
12:06 pm

Jordan

February 25th, 2010
12:08 pm

Don’t you have to claim ‘First’ if your first???

On that note….second or third. :(

Not Disappointed

February 25th, 2010
12:08 pm

Ivan Vasilii Vladivostok, aka "Pasha dat a$$"

February 25th, 2010
12:13 pm

Snooze……he is going to wash out just like Heyward-Bey.

Not Disappointed

February 25th, 2010
12:13 pm

Preach Mark! Preach it!
ramblin wreck!…………..Amen!

Mark Bradley

February 25th, 2010
12:16 pm

Kudos to gt blume, who was first without even proclaiming the feat.

Paul in RDU

February 25th, 2010
12:17 pm

Mark – It’s great that Mel is sold on Thomas, but I am sure what Bay-Bay really wants is for an NFL GM to be sold on him.
Having said that, even with all of the scoutung reports, testing at the combines, Wonderlick test, etc. drafting is still as crap shoot. Mel is just as likely to be right (or wrong) as an NFL GM

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

February 25th, 2010
12:17 pm

“I post this because I’m starting to hear the knocks on Thomas from some of you — maybe it’s just me being suspicious, but I’m thinking a few such knocks are coming from Georgia fans — and I can’t imagine my response being any more pointed than Mel’s.” – MB

Well, I am from Georgia and I want you to know that Demaryius Thomas was always polite when we saw each other at the game and we were beating them pretty good. That was before the a$$ painting, though.

Innocent Bystander

February 25th, 2010
12:19 pm

gt_blume- props on the humility. As for Bay-Bay, I’m glad he’s finally getting some coverage/respect from “big” names like Mel. Wherever he lands, they’ll be happy to have him.

That Guy

February 25th, 2010
12:35 pm

When was the last time Georgia Tech had 3 potential first round draft picks? And how many does Georgia have?

Just wondering.

Greg

February 25th, 2010
12:35 pm

So what you’re really saying is what we already know…if you’re a talented receiver with legitimate NFL aspirations, why go to GT so the NFL has to project what you might have done in a pro style offense instead of actually proving it in a system like, say, Georgia’s.

WR

February 25th, 2010
12:38 pm

Mark, you do take a beating with us, as a Techie, I will say that most, especially UGA fans will say I’m being bias, but I agree with the points you made. Calvin Johnson was just recently mentioned as one of the best players to come out of GT on NFL.com. Not to say Im putting Bay Bay in his category, but they basically came from the same type system, though different offensive systems. Yes Gailey ran more of a pro-style offense, but Tech fans rarely saw the passing side of that offense, probably couldn’t with Reggie Ball as the QB. But that team concentrated on the passing game, this current group considers it an after thought. Bay Bay still got it done, Johnson had receivers around him, of course he was the best option, but Bay Bay often was the only option and still he got it done. Shoulda, woulda, coulda’s, are normally an afterthought, but if Bay Bay makes a simple catch in the closing minutes of this past year’s UGA-GT game, would there be much talk of we run this state. Even the best drop passes, but what stands out more is the fact that he was open, open in a scheme thats not big on revolutionary pass routes or schemes, a team without a large number of WRs, no TEs, and still he found a way, and he did it for the past two years. I love Johnson, but even in a pro-style offense he proved he could be single covered, Bay Bay in a non-conventional offense that definitely shouts single coverage, proved that wouldn’t happen with him. I believe thats why Mayock is so high on him.

Greg

February 25th, 2010
12:40 pm

Georgia’s first round draft picks came out last year…#1 and #12 if your memory is that short. How many times has Tech beaten UGA since 2000? ONCE….but congrats on having more first round draft picks this year….put that on your class rings, nerds.

Dan

February 25th, 2010
12:41 pm

So what you’re saying is what we already know…if you’re a UGA fan who can’t handle the fact that GT is getting better pub than your team right now, you exhibit jealousy and poor reading comprehension skills. Last I checked, Massaquoi was a 2nd round pick in that pro style offense. Imagine how much higher he could have been drafted if he went to Tech like Bay Bay.

And the NFL always projects, genius. That’s why so many high picks don’t make it.

Ivan Vasilii Vladivostok, aka "Pasha dat a$$"

February 25th, 2010
12:42 pm

When was the last time GT had 3 potential NFL draft picks That Guy?

Dan

February 25th, 2010
12:47 pm

We had three NFL picks last year, Ivan.

59bulldawg

February 25th, 2010
12:47 pm

Hey I’m a Georgia guy and if I were making draft decisions, I’d have no problem taking Thomas. With his size and speed his potential is unlimited. Sure his “boo boo” helped us beat Tech but that had more to do with bad luck than ability. The kid’s gonna be great. It would be fun to watch him play pitch and catch with Sanchez. But I’d like to see my Steelers get him.

Dan

February 25th, 2010
12:49 pm

Be funny to see him Ward blowing people up on the outside for the Steelers, 59bulldawg.

PMC

February 25th, 2010
12:54 pm

Ok so his hands are a bit overrated… I’m a little concerned he may go a bit too high… but honestly he’s a fantastic prospect. He’s a terriffic blocker right now. He has good experience stretching the field and he’s pretty good at going up and getting it. He can refine his route running if he works at it. When you look at the good WR’s that have come out in the last several years… this guy has everything you want.

PMC

February 25th, 2010
12:55 pm

The guy essentially WAS the passing offense at GT and he STILL pulled it off.

59bulldawg

February 25th, 2010
12:55 pm

Yes it would Dan!

AndyC

February 25th, 2010
1:04 pm

I am a UGA fan and I really don’t care where “Bay-Bay” goes in the draft. He’s gone from Tech and that’s all I care about. One thing that did catch my attention is how Kiper mentioned that if he had played for a team with a pro style offense, like UGA, then he would go much higher in the draft. Why would a highly rated receiver ever want to play for Tech? Beats me.

AndyC

February 25th, 2010
1:10 pm

According to ESPN UGA currently has 43 players in the NFL and Tech has 25 so all the Tech fans need to shut up. You have one good year where you get a couple of guys in the 1st round and you are acting like Tech is the better producer of NFL players…well you’re not so shut up.

devil dawg

February 25th, 2010
1:10 pm

Nobody said that Massaquoi was a first rounder. Read much? Stafford and Moreno were the first round picks. Yes, MoMass was the second rounder, and he did some really good things his first year. This year, UGA has a small senior class in terms of NFL caliber players and only two early departees, so we will only send 5 or 6 guys to the league as opposed to our regular 8 or so. So sorry to disappoint you. Anyway, Thomas seemed like a monster most games last season. Too bad he won’t end up opposite of Roddy White, that would be scary.

Dr.House

February 25th, 2010
1:14 pm

Bay Bay will be a major bust! Glad the Falcons won’t waste a pick on him!! The guy can’t run routes!

Ducksworth Bentley

February 25th, 2010
1:17 pm

He likes em round and BIG.

Mark Bradley

February 25th, 2010
1:17 pm

I don’t think Thomas will be a bust. I think he’ll be outstanding.

Dan

February 25th, 2010
1:18 pm

devil dawg, I never suggested Massaquoi was a first rounder and nor did anyone else that I’m aware of. Read much?

My point was that the variable clearly isn’t what offense you play in during college. If it was, then can someone explain how Crabtree was the #10 pick last year or how Thomas could possibly be a potential first rounder. Plus, if the system was such a good predictor of success, why did Mike Williams fail in Detroit or why have we not heard from Dwayne Jarrett recently?

Bay Bay is a stupid nickname

February 25th, 2010
1:21 pm

In Chan’s offense, 10 throws a game is high. The only reason he passes is when A) the corners finally start biting on the runs, leaving a WR wide open, or B) in desperation because Tech is behind and has to score. There is no “development” of a WR, i.e. route running or defensive reads. Hey BayBay will struggle because of this no matter where he is picked.

As for the dufas who said MoMass was picked in the second round, that was because of his size/speed…aka, not first round size or speed. The fact he made it to the second round is actually a good thing, meaning they thought he was a complete receiver despite being vertically challenged and without better speed. Thomas has the size…it will be interesting to see how he times at the combine. I predict he is slower than estimated, and finishes about average for WRs, somewhere in the 4.56-4.62 range. It’s his height and thickness that the pros want. But he’s still a project.

Dan

February 25th, 2010
1:21 pm

Dr. House, have you spent a lot of time analyzing his route running ability? Please enlighten us on how you came to that conclusion.

No! For the last time I don't want to super size my order

February 25th, 2010
1:24 pm

C’mon Greg how can ugump not have any first round talent this year? Don’t we hear over and over again how ugump has all of the good players in the state. If GT has potentially 3 first round picks…by using ugump logic…ugump should have over half of the first round all sewed up. Why don’t you hang out over at the dawg blog and continue with your daily affirmations of how good ugump is. …we are good enough, we are smart enough, and dawggonit peolple really like us.

TomB

February 25th, 2010
1:25 pm

Mark, I would rather know what Thomas Dimitroff’s opinion of Bay-Bay is rather than say Mel Kiper, but that’s just me.

egeagle

February 25th, 2010
1:26 pm

At least you owned up to your bias, Mark. The worst thing said of Thomas pales in comparison to the insults and derision hurled at Stafford and Moreno last year. You didn’t stop to wonder about the background of those naysayers.

Dan

February 25th, 2010
1:26 pm

Bay Bay is a stupid nickname, he was from the SEC. I would have thought he would have SEC speed, no?

Also, let’s deal with facts. Massaquoi is 6′2, 210. As a point of comparison, Roddy White is 6′0, 210. Vertically challeged? Please. You don’t get to make up facts, chief.

Mark Bradley

February 25th, 2010
1:27 pm

I understand, TomB. But GMs hate to tell you — for the record, anyway — what they really think of a player until after the draft.

Tailback U

February 25th, 2010
1:30 pm

I agree the Thomas kid has great upside. But I’ll say this,
projecting WR’s can be especially difficult to get right.
Past drafts have been littered with can’t miss guys and then
on the other hand some players not highly drafted go on to
become real finds in the NFL. If I am a team liking Thomas I
pull the trigger on him only if I am willing to view him as someone
that could take three plus years to develop because of the system
the kid played in.

No! For the last time I don't want to super size my order

February 25th, 2010
1:31 pm

Andy…I don’t recall how many ugump receivers have gone in the first round.

Calvin's Barber Shop

February 25th, 2010
2:00 pm

Can we take up a collection and please buy Thomas and Josh Smith some real nicknames? Dang.

jarvis

February 25th, 2010
3:20 pm

Mark, why don’t have a picture of the last pass thrown to him in that game?

GTOldSchool21

February 25th, 2010
7:53 pm

When a real smart UGA fan shows up on this blog, please stand up. Thus far, all of your blogs are stupid and weak. Complaining about a nick name or how many receivers in the first round or the GT offense??? All of them are stupid. If you don’t agree that Bay Bay runs a 4.3, jumps 40 inches, and is a dominate wide receiver… that is ok…stupid as well but ok. Let’s focus on the facts…and yes…I know UGA has beaten Tech every single year…again…dumb comment…the blog is about an inspired NFL prospect who is getting recognition for his hard work, dedication, and skills. Let’s focus on that for this blog. Then it would be an interesting blog. THWG

RomeDawg

February 25th, 2010
8:13 pm

As a Dawg fan, I think he will be fine in the NFL. I am one of those “jerks” who likes to occasionally post something to anger all the nerds. I think he has a lot to learn because of CPJ’s lack of understanding a complex offense but he is one heckuva physical specimen.(There it goes again!) Best of luck to him even if he is a jacket. He always seemed to be a class act, unlike ARGO.

vet, then and now

February 25th, 2010
8:28 pm

how did the first taken last year pan out? Have you ever taken the wonderlic test that they give these kids. My 16 yr old would ace it

Hmmmmmm!

February 25th, 2010
8:34 pm

Add in his dominating blocking skills and he should be the highest rated receiver in the whole draft.

techette

February 25th, 2010
8:50 pm

if he played in a pro style offense, would he not had to share with the other receivers? I doubt if he would have had the yardage….

intheknow

February 25th, 2010
9:56 pm

I am a UGA fan…that said, UGA coach’s said he was too slow during his recruitment. Shows you how much of a crap shoot that is. Know one knew how great of a player he would become….I would take him in the first round.He has the physical skills to be a pro bowl type player.

Kev

February 25th, 2010
9:59 pm

Somehow it always turns into Ga vs. Ga Tech..who cares if Tech’s student body are nerds and UGA’s fan base consists of mostly low-rent rednecks..big whoop tee doooo

The Dogfighter Returns

February 25th, 2010
10:41 pm

The knocks are from thuga and it’s pro thugs such as Yeshawn Moreno. Yeshawn cold cucked an underage drunkard last week in Athens. Apparently he was able to pay off Athens PD with all his dough from the broncos.

Gov Sonny. Perdue should order an investigation right now regarding why Yeshawn Moreno is not behind bars. That bulldog should be behind bars singing to Tyrone and Bubba.

Bebe is a beast. He will play in the NFL for the next 25 years if he avoids the limelight and the temptations of fame and fortune that await him.

misterwax

February 26th, 2010
1:40 am

Bark Madly – GT did have three men chosen as first round picks in 1979, Eddie Lee Ivert, Kent Hill and Drew Hill…..but they were all seniors.

misterwax

February 26th, 2010
1:41 am

sorry, Ivery.

Mark Bradley

February 26th, 2010
6:50 am

Drew Hill was not a Round 1 pick, misterwax. He was taken in the 12th round.