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2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Brian Thomas Jr. (WR – LSU)

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Brian Thomas Jr. (WR – LSU)

FantasyPros will be taking a look at early NFL Draft scouting reports before the Combine in March. Here’s a look at LSU receiver Brian Thomas Jr..

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Brian Thomas Jr.

Brian Thomas Jr. (WR – LSU)

6’4” – 205 lbs.

Background:

Louisiana native and four-star recruit who started nine games as a freshman but had a somewhat complementary offensive role, finishing with a 28-359-2 (12.8) line. He followed that up with a similar sophomore campaign of 31-361-5 (11.6) before breaking out this past year opposite Malik Nabers, with an excellent line of 60-1,079-15 (18.0) heading into bowl season.

Positives:

Was a highly-productive receiver this year in his breakout season, showing significant improvement and establishing himself a very high-percentage option in 2023. Tall, lanky option who can occasionally slide down into the slot. Shows adequate footwork to release at the line against press; uses clean, simple releases and doesn’t try and get too cute at the line. Long-strider who eats up cushions quickly against off-coverage. A legitimate deep threat; smooth accelerator with impressive top-end speed to threaten downfield, with cornerbacks seemingly being lulled into a false sense of security by his long strides. Big, very flexible target who can adjust to throws away from his frame and shows impressive body control. Shows the ability to track the ball over his shoulder and climb the ladder to win over the top; has improved over the course of his career. Good awareness and footwork near the sideline. Works back to the ball on curls and hitches. Has impressive elusiveness in space to make defenders miss, and the team tried to get him some passes in space to see what he could do. Able to run through some arm tackles.

Negatives:

Was never his team’s primary receiver in school. Route tree is relatively limited, with a high percentage of routes like curls and hitches underneath soft cushions, as well as go routes/fades and some deeper in routes against zone. Can be redirected by physical cornerbacks because of his lack of ideal bulk and functional strength. Doesn’t have the most sink and explosiveness at the route stem, more of a smooth route-runner. Has had some issues with drops in the past, although he’s been able to cut down on them each year.

Summary:

A legitimate deep threat with a huge frame and impressive flexibility and elusiveness, he could establish himself as a dynamic starting split end at the pro level. Will need to continue adding functional strength and diversify his route tree, but the favorable developmental trajectory he’s shown and the fact that he already possesses translatable skills should earn him a spot in the second round or so.

Projection: Round 2

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