Oklahoma cornerback Jordan Thomas is tall, athletic, and capable of shutting down opposing teams’ best wide receivers on any given day. He entered 2016 as a likely All Big-12 cornerback and has more than proven his worth. His skill set could easily propel him into the earlier rounds. At 6-foot and 192 pounds, he has the size to be a good cornerback. Thus far this season he has already been a great cornerback. He excels in man coverage, and routinely makes highlight plays.
Thomas came to Oklahoma as a high 3 star recruit out of Spring Texas. Even as a teenager, 247 emphasized his ball skills and instincts. From watching him play, that was quite evident. He played sparingly in his freshman year, but did get solid minutes. Thomas’ sophomore year he was given the starting job and excelled. Need proof of his ball skills? He recorded five interceptions last year. He has not recorded one this year, but it’s not from a lack of trying. Offenses just are not willing to test him.
I rewatched the matchups against Ohio State, Texas, and Kansas State to get a feel for Thomas. The recurring theme was no one wanted to test him. Ohio State flat out threw away from him. Kansas State only tested him a couple of times. Texas targeted him multiple times in the first half and then they learned their mistakes as well.
Thomas was routinely asked to cover the opposing team’s best receivers and generally performed well. I noticed three instances of getting beat. Out of those three, two were by guys who ran legit 4.3’s in John Burt and Devin Duvernay. The last one was Thomas biting hard on a quarterback run. It occurred against Kansas State, where the starting quarterback was replaced by a wide receiver. Thus I can understand why he did not anticipate a deep pass but it was still a poor mistake.
Here is one play where he is beat. He’s on the top left, #7. The first receiver gets him to bite, and he does not switch quickly enough onto the second. https://youtu.be/9skVVofvlhg?t=52s
Thomas is exceptional in man coverage, and does not allow his receiver to gain enough separation. I saw multiple jump balls that Thomas just went up, high pointed, and batted down. Especially in the first half against Texas. He doesn’t give space, and doesn’t lose the jump ball. Which are important characteristics for a cornerback.
What are his issues? He can be beat but it would have to be by a very speedy receiver, or someone who can out physical him. He can peak into the backfield a little too long, and then have to recover. Against NFL guys that hesitation is already death. Outside of that, his biggest issue are the off field incidents. He’s been arrested for intoxication, assault, battery, and resisting arrest. The last two should give enough pause to prevent him from being a 1st round draft pick. From now on he needs to keep a low profile for the sake of his future. Whichever team drafts him, will get a quality cornerback to put into rotation.