Former Yellow Jackets’ defensive back Jemea Thomas landed in a great professional situation. When the New England Patriots took him with the 206th pick of the 6th round, people in the know had to feel that was a great value for the Pats and a dream scenario for Thomas. It is a dream scenario for Thomas for one really big reason–Bill Belichick’s know how to put defensive players into positions to succeed.
With “The Hoodie” being a defensive genius, that is the biggest reason why Jemea Thomas can help out the New England Patriots secondary now. Thomas may not start, but significant playing time in certain defensive sets can be in the future of the one time Georgia Tech defensive standout.
In today’s NFL you really can’t have a shortage of defensive backs especially with all the spread offenses and five wide receiver sets. Though Thomas’ dimensions are slight at 5-foot-9, 192 pounds, he should still be able to excel in nickel and dime packages. In those packages it would not be out of the realm of possibility to see Thomas rush after the QB or even pick up receivers out of backfield. Those are nice duties for a young DB in the pros to start off with.
It is not like the Patriots have not ended up striking gold with a mid to late round DB selection in the past. Asante Samuel was taken in the fourth round back in 2003 and actually had a pretty nice career at the end of the day. Samuel was also about the same stature as Thomas standing 5-foot-10, 185 pounds. Belichick was able to get some strong production out of Samuel, so that bodes well for someone like Jemea Thomas.
Thomas is going to be a “coach-em-up” project. What is in Thomas’ favor is the fact that he was a four-year starter at The Flats, and he was always around the ball. He really did not create the amount of turnovers that he should have with the opportunities that were presented, but the fact that he is in the right place to defend is a plus.
If there is one coach in the NFL that will be able to dig this diamond out of the rough it is Bill Belichick. If you really pay attention to “The Hoodie”, it is almost like he relishes these kinds of opportunities to coach and teach. What other coach in the NFL pulls out the whiteboard and diagrams on the sideline outside of Belichick?
That is why, at the end of the day, Thomas has a great chance to contribute this year to the Patriots secondary in some capacity. He just needs to be sure he pays attention to that whiteboard and plays his role in the scheme. It all starts with a good training camp for Thomas. Belichick is the one coach that will be able to get the most and the best out of him making New England a great situation for Thomas to succeed.
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