Michael Thomas is Overrated By Billy Schick



(Picture Credit: KPLC)

Last year, Michael Thomas set a new single-season receptions record with 144 catches.  In addition to the catch record, he posted career highs in yards (1725), touchdowns (9), and targets (185).  With the most yards in the league, many people call Michael Thomas the best wide receiver in the NFL, but when you take a deeper dive into the numbers and consider some basic football logic, Michael Thomas is very overrated.

Let’s make one thing clear: Michael Thomas does not show up when it counts.  7 catches for 70 yards against Xavier Rhodes and the Vikings in the 2019 wild card.  As a die hard Vikings fan, I was terrified of this matchup, and thought Thomas would have no problem with Rhodes and torch him for 140+ and a couple of touchdowns.  According to Pro Football Focus, Rhodes was the 7th worst corner in the NFL in 2019.  How on earth did he shut down Michael Thomas?  Well, Thomas claims he had a broken hand, but with him being notorious for social media trash talk, I don’t buy it.  Okay, he had one bad game?  2018 NFC championship vs the Rams: 4 catches, 36 yards.  2018 week 9 vs the Rams: 12 catches, 211 yards, and a touchdown.  It’s simple - Thomas puts up big numbers in the regular season but fails to deliver in the playoffs.  Michael Thomas is overrated.

Since 2017, Michael Thomas has been Drew Brees’s #1 receiver.  And it’s not even close.  Outside Thomas, Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram (two elite running backs), check out Bree’s supporting cast. Ted Ginn Jr. - washed.  Willie Snead - average.  Josh Hill - who?  Tre’Quan Smith - who?  It’s simple - Thomas eats up all the targets.  I will say, Sean Payton knows how to use his running backs out of the backfield, but that doesn’t mean they get a boatload of targets like Thomas.  Brees has no solid #2 receiver or reliable tight-end (Jared Cook was good, but struggled to stay healthy throughout 2019), so Thomas gets all the targets from his future hall of fame quarterback.

Michael Thomas is a very good receiver - don’t get me wrong - but he is not the best receiver in the league.  Chris Godwin and Mike Evans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers both put up over 1100 yards last year by splitting receptions from Jameis Winston, who threw 30 picks in 2019.  Not to mention, neither Godwin or Evans finished the season as they suffered injuries in December.  The fact that Godwin and Evans can both put up monster numbers with one of the worst quarterbacks in the league in Jameis Winston is enough for me to say that they are better than Thomas. 

One key area that jumps out to me when comparing receivers is yards per reception.  In his 4 year career, Michael Thomas has never averaged more than 12.4 yards per catch.  What does that mean?  He can’t go over the top.  He relies on short routes.  Most of his targets from Drew Brees come on slant routes.  When looking at Julio Jones’s stats over the last 4 years, his yards per reception totals were 17.0, 16.4, 14.8, and 14.1.  When looking at Evans - 17.3, 17.7, 14.1, 13.8.  Odell Beckham Jr. - 14.0, 13.7, 12.1, 15.1.  Michael Thomas isn’t much of a deep threat, and according to his yards per reception totals, he lacks the ability to go over the top.  

Michael Thomas is one of the best receivers in the NFL, and had an unbelievable 2019 campaign.  However, when people say he is the best receiver in the league, they need to consider his lack of production in big time playoff games, weak supporting cast, and his yards per reception comparisons to other top receivers.  I am not a Michael Thomas hater; I just think he is overrated.   

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