Time flies, just ask
This time last year the 5-foot-11, 182-pound safety was one of the local prospects working out in front of San Francisco 49ers coaches and scouts.
Thomas, however, had a leg up on the prospects who played college or high school football in the Bay Area.
The Houston native played for Jim Harbaugh at Stanford. It also helped that he had a strong showing in his local pro day workout.
Flash forward to 2013’s pro day at 49ers headquarters, Thomas watched his former Stanford teammates and other local players showcase their talents for San Francisco’s coaches and personnel staff.
“It was crazy, being on the other side looking at it,” Thomas said after watching the workout. “I know what those guys are feeling. I was just there last year.”
Thomas went undrafted but did enough in his pro day workout and time at Stanford to be considered as an undrafted free agent. The 49ers brought Thomas in because of his position versatility at both safety and cornerback.
It led Thomas to the team’s practice squad in 2012 and a spot on the 2013 roster when he was signed to a future/reserve contract.
Thomas is a prime example of what a good showing at a local pro day can do for a college prospect. After watching the players compete by running the 40-yard dash, 3-cone-drills and later participate in individual drills, Thomas enjoyed the effort he saw on the field.
“You’ve got that hunger, you want to impress the coaches, but at the same time you want to show that you can play,” Thomas said when relating it to his own experience last year. “You want to show that you can compete. That’s what it’s about.”
As a former member of Harbaugh’s Stanford-coached teams which included a season under 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, Thomas still proudly boasts all-things Stanford.
He even watched the session in a Cardinal-colored shirt.
“It was a good turnout for Stanford,” the proud alum said. “A couple of guys were competing even though they said they wouldn’t.”
Most notably, tight end Zach Ertz joined the workout moments before the day started.
Considered by many to be one of, if not the, top tight end prospect in this year’s draft, Ertz put on a red No. 44 jersey and competed in individual drills.
“It can only help him,” Thomas said. “It won’t hurt being out there.”
Based on his experience, additional exposure for the players could lead to opportunity down the road. That’s what helped Thomas find his way on to San Francisco’s roster.
“When you come out to an event like this, you’re trying to get extra tape, that extra exposure,” Thomas said. “For these guys to have that opportunity to have that local day and show the 49ers what they can do.
“It’s a great opportunity you couldn’t ask for anything more. “