The Relative Relevance of Devin Thomas

Washington Commanders

In lieu of Devin Thomas’ comments about Washington over the last week or so, I thought it might be interesting to compare him to other players in the annuls of “Deadskins” receiving history. If you don’t get the Deadskins reference, a lot of the angst towards Devin Thomas, is because his new pet nickname for the team that wasted a second round draft pick and 5 million bucks on him is, that’s right, the Deadskins.

I think the only reason that his comments got my dander up personally, is because the only remarkable thing about Thomas’ career in Washington, is how unremarkable it was. The guy was a complete non-entity. I’ve heard people say that he, “showed flashes.” No he didn’t, I watched every game he played. He had ONE good game in three seasons with the team. For the most part, he just looked lost. So let’s compare him with some of the Redskin ‘greats.’

First we have to look at what Devin Thomas ‘accomplished’ as a Redskin. In three seasons, 2008-2010, he ‘amassed’ 445 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns in 39 games. Part of the reason that he only played 39 games for Washington was because they let him go four games into his third season. Thomas played for both the Carolina Panthers and the New York Giants in that third season, but didn’t register any more offensive statistics. So those are his career statistics as a receiver – 40 catches for 445 yards in 39 games; basically a whole catch per game.

He did experience some success as a kick and punt returner in Washington – his current role with the New York Giants – he rang up 838 yards on 35 carries (23.9 yard average).

So on to some comparisons…

Desmond Howard
A lot of people consider Desmond Howard a bust. He was drafted 4th overall and certainly never lived up to that level of billing. But he was better than Devin Thomas. In his three seasons, and 48 career games in D.C., Howard posted 66 catches for 1033 yards and 5 touchdowns. His 15.7 yards per catch is notably better than Thomas’ 11.4 yards per catch. Howard posted similar numbers to Thomas in the return game: 43 returns for 867 yards. Howard had a few more yards, but Thomas had a slightly better average. Advantage: Howard.

Rod Gardner
What’s a wide receiver futility comparison without including Rod ’50/50′ Gardner – or perhaps you prefer Rod ‘Hands of Stone’ Gardner. It doesn’t matter what you call him, he was considerably more prolific than Devin Thomas. Gardner had more yards each season he was a Redskin, than Thomas had in his 3-year tenure in Washington. Gardner had seasons of 741, 1006, 600 and 650 yards, for a grand total of 2997 yards – more than 6 times what Thomas had. Gardner also had 22 touchdowns to Thomas’ three touchdowns. Advantage: Gardner

Michael Westbrook
What about Michael Westbrook you say? Well other than in 2000 when Westbrook was sidelined for all but 2 of the Redskins games, he also had more yards in each season with Washington, than Thomas did in his career. To keep with trying to compare apples to apples as much as possible, Westbrook had 522, 505 and 559 yards in each of his first three respective seasons. Advantage: Westbrook

Albert Connell
Remember Albert “Don’t leave Any Valuables In Your Locker” Connell? Even with a meagre 138 yards in his first season, he finished a four-year tenure with 138 catches for 2483 yards – 1721 of those yards in the first three seasons. Advantage: Connell

Darnerian McCants
Then there are guys like Darnerian McCants. You’re thinking yeah, that guy rarely saw the field right? Well he saw the field enough to put up better numbers than Thomas did. McCants posted 53 catches for 687 yards in three years with the Redskins. He also had 8 touchdowns. Advantage: McCants

Truth is, you don’t have to look very hard to find receivers that put up better numbers than Thomas. In fact, it’s harder to find Redskin receivers that spent at least 3 seasons with the team, that DIDN’T have better career numbers than him. Every single player listed above also has a higher ‘per catch’ average than Thomas – every one of them. All of the above listed players went on to play with someone else – none of them saw fit to call the Redskins, the Deadskins.

They call the last guy selected in the entry draft, “Mr. Irrelevant.” Maybe the football gods should look at Devin Thomas’ career and see if maybe Mr. Irrelevant wouldn’t be a term better used for careers like his.

It’s categorically been irrelevant.


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