College: Jacksonville State
Position: Running back
College Stats: 782 yards, 6.2 yards per carry, 7 rushing touchdowns in 2016; 1,065 yards, 6.0 yards per carry, 13 rushing touchdowns in 2017. Two-time First Team All-OVC, 2017 Second Team All-American
Roc Thomas was considered one of the top running backs in the country coming out of high school. He was Alabama’s Mr. Football and the Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior and committed to play at Auburn.
Although he started a few games as both a freshman and a sophomore, Thomas was never able to be Gus Malzahn’s workhorse back. That led to him transferring to Jacksonville State in 2016, where he became a star.
Thomas had just a of couple months to get up to speed on the Gamecocks’ offense. He not only made an impact, but gained control of the starting job as the season went along on his way towards all-conference honors. As a senior, he was even better, being the workhorse back for one of the best teams in the country.
Even though Thomas was not used much out of the backfield at Jacksonville State, he showed that he could be a competent receiver at the NFL Combine. He has very good hands and is able to get open out of the backfield.
Thomas is good in short yardage too. He will get down and lower his shoulders to get the tough yards on third and fourth down and won’t get too cute with it.
In the NFL, running backs need to be able to pass protect. That’s something that Thomas struggled with at the collegiate level. He had trouble picking up blitzes and was too quick to go out and be a receiving option.
The converse of one of his strengths is seen as a weakness by NFL scouts too. Thomas has been critiqued for not letting his blocking develop on stretch plays and instead shooting upfield the first chance he gets.
Thomas has enough skill to be selected in the sixth- or seventh-round. He could find a niche in short-yardage or goal line situations for the right team.