Every year the New Orleans Saints seem to grab an undrafted free agent that is called a steal and gets the fanbase as pumped as some of their draft picks.
Last year it was former Rutgers wide receiver Brandon Coleman who the New England Patriots tried to sign but he chose the Saints instead.
While Coleman didn’t quite have the impact his first season, he is said to be gaining ground in the competition for one of the open wide receiver spots this year.
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Of course the same can’t be said for another former prized undrafted free agent signing for the Saints in 2013 with linebacker Chase Thomas.
Thomas, formerly of Stanford, started as a defensive lineman his freshman year and then played linebacker his final three years for the Cardinals.
For his college career Thomas totaled 229 tackles with 50.5 for a loss, 9 forced fumbles, 2 interceptions, and 27.5 sacks.
With these numbers Thomas appeared to be a top draft pick until his NFL Scouting Combine performance.
At 6’3″ and 244 lbs. Thomas ran a pedestrian 4.91 40-yard dash, did 18 reps on bench press, had a 32 inch vertical jump, and a 113 inch broad jump.
At his Pro Day it wasn’t much better only improving his 40-yard dash time to a 4.80, bench pressed 21 reps, vertical jumped 33.5 inches, and broad jumped 117 inches.
Aug 3, 2013; Metairie, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints fullback Austin Johnson (35) catches a touchdown over outside linebacker Chase Thomas (58) during a scrimmage at the team training facility. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Thomas was regarded as a third or fourth round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft so when he went undrafted it was a shock to see but a pleasant surprise when he chose to sign with the Saints immediately following.
It was defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s first year and Thomas was seen as a huge steal that could flourish in the new defensive scheme.
I was one of those that was extremely excited to see the former Stanford standout and thought he could be one of the new, young pieces that could reinvigorate a defense that floundered in 2012 especially in tackling.
But while he flashed on occasions during training camp and the preseason, Thomas could never stay consistent and was waived by the team on August 19, 2013.
The Oakland Raiders claimed Thomas on August 20th but was waived almost a week and a half later where he then bounced to the practice squads of the Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, then the San Francisco 49ers.
In 2014, the 49ers activated Thomas from their practice squad during Week 10 and played in four other games after that where he registered only three tackles.
Aug 28, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans running back Alfred Blue (44) avoids the tackle attempt by San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Chase Thomas (48) during the first quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Thomas was looking to make a mark with the 49ers with the retirement of Patrick Willis and Chris Borland but unfortunately ended up tearing his ACL in March during a workout.
To add to his woes, the 49ers decided to waive Thomas today in a report according to nfltraderumorsumors.co from the reserve/non-football injury list.
The 49ers may end up letting Thomas clear waivers and then placing him on injured reserve to see if the once promising linebacker can heal and become the player that the Saints once thought he could be……