KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A highly anticipated explosive element to the Chiefs offense and special teams is officially in the mix ahead of the May 24-26 rookie minicamp.
The Chiefs announced Friday the signing of fourth-round pick (124th overall) De’Anthony Thomas. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Listed at 5-foot-8, 174 pounds, Thomas brings versatility as a running back, slot wide receiver and return specialist. And for now, the Chiefs will officially list him as a running back/specialist.
Thomas left Oregon as the school’s record holder in kickoff return yards (1,885 yards) and punt return average (17.13 yards), to go along with five special teams touchdowns (four kickoff returns, one punt return).
Entering his rookie season, Thomas projects to contribute early on special teams, Chiefs coach Andy Reid said during a recent guest appearance on Sports Radio 810 WHB.
“He’ll probably have more impact on special teams quicker than he will on say the offense,” Reid said. “We’ll work him in there. We’ll see what he can do.”
Thomas appeared in 37 games with 19 starts at Oregon. The Los Angeles native rushed for 1,890 yards and 26 touchdowns on 242 carries, adding 1,296 yards receiving and 15 touchdowns on 113 receptions.
In addition to the flexibility – or “Swiss army knife-like versatily,” as Chiefs scout Trey Koziol categorized it last weekend following the team’s draft selection – the Chiefs can use in various packages, Thomas brings blazing speed to the table.
The former Oregon track star more than made up for a disappointing 4.50 40-yard dash time at the NFL Scouting Combine with a 4.39 time at his Pro Day.
And when it comes to putting that quickness on the field, Thomas, who claims he’s never been caught from behind, looks forward to showcasing it at the NFL level.
“When I come out of the gates,” Thomas said last weekend during his post-draft media conference call, “I feel like I’m going to score that touchdown.”
The signing of Thomas brings the total of the Chiefs’ 2014 draft picks under contract to four.
Third-round pick (87th overall) cornerback Phillip Gaines signed Thursday, while sixth-round pick (193rd overall) guard Zach Fulton signed Tuesday and sixth-round pick (200th overall) offensive tackle Laurence Duvernay-Tardif signed Wednesday.
The remaining draft picks yet to sign are outside linebacker Dee Ford (first round, 23rd overall) and quarterback Aaron Murray (fifth round, 163rd overall).