Defensive Back Jemea Thomas has been selected by the New England Patriots in the 6th round of the 2014 NFL Draft, with the 206th overall pick. He is the second player from Georgia Tech to be drafted in 2014, following DE Jeremiah Attaochu's selection at 50th overall by the San Diego Chargers.
A native of Queensland, GA, Thomas was a 3-star recruit at A-Back who would become a major playmaker in the Yellow Jackets' secondary, both as a safety and cornerback. He started the final 28 games of his career, compiling 174 tackles over his final two seasons -- best on the team over that span. He also had 9 interceptions in his career, with 6 in his final two seasons -- also the high mark for his team. When not on defense, Thomas also had big impact on special teams, both on the coverage teams and as a returner. He was named second-team All-ACC in 2012 and third-team All-ACC in 2013.
When asked for comment in his post-Draft press conference, Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick echoed some sentiments from Thomas' pre-Draft profile...
Q: Do you consider Jemea Thomas more of a cornerback or a safety, or is that something that will just work itself out once you see him on the field?
BB: Yeah, I think we're going to have to see how that goes. But based on our experience with him, our workouts, watching him play, I think he has the ability to work at all three spots. I think he has some versatility, he's smart, he runs well, he's a tough kid, he's a good tackler. I think that there's definitely a place defensively to have a player like that. Logan Ryan was different but had some similarities to that last year where he played outside, he played in the slot, played some snaps at safety. And just depending on the offense you're going up against and the particular way that your roster is comprised from game to game with an injury or a guy that's out or four wides or whatever it is, it's good to have a couple players that are versatile and can move around and handle different responsibilities like that. We'll see how much Jemea can do there. He's done all those things in the past plus he's been a good special teams player. We'll see exactly what that role is. Maybe he becomes very good at one thing or maybe he becomes a versatile player that is able to do multiple things. We'll have to see but it looks like he's got the ability to compete at all three of those spots – safety, nickel corner and on the perimeter. He's an interesting guy.
Per Jemea's pre-Draft profile...
Strengths: Tackling, hands, awareness, strength, versatility, reliability
Weaknesses: Height, speed, length
For more on Thomas' selection, see SB Nation's site Pats Pulpit. Congratulations Jemea!!