THOMAS GOES IN ROUND 2 TO MIAMI
By Mark Janssen
Daniel Thomas admits that the wait was "long and frustrating at times," but he quickly added, "While I thought I would go higher, everything happens for a reason and I'm in a beautiful situation in Miami."
K-State's No. 2 all-time leading rusher was drafted as the 30th selection in the second round by the Miami Dolphins in Friday's edition of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Thomas made trips to a half-dozen NFL camps in the last three weeks, which included Miami.
"I was down there a few weeks ago and was able to work with the offensive coordinator and the coach, go over the schemes and plays and everything," Thomas said. "The meeting went pretty well with the head coach and everybody. I knew I was definitely on the radar."
Thomas, who was taken with the 62nd pick overall in the draft, became the highest drafted Wildcat running back since 1955 when Corky Taylor was taken in the second round by Los Angeles with the 18th overall pick.
Thomas said he was going to go to Miami on Saturday, but was uncertain of any future plans due to the NFL lockout.
If not in 2011, Thomas could be viewed as the Dolphins' back of the future as splitting time last year were 29-year-old Ronnie Brown, a six-year pro out of Auburn, and 33-year-old Ricky Williams, a 10-year pro out of Texas.
"They explained they had Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown, but they weren't sure if they were going to keep those guys," Thomas said. "My role is going to be to come in and make contributions right away. They told me they weren't going to draft me to sit on the bench. I expect to come in and play."
In addition, Miami uses the 'Wildcat' formation, which Thomas played in junior college, plus some at K-State.
"That's something I think I can bring to the table,'' Thomas said. "I played quarterback in high school and junior college. I'm good for like three or four passes a game.''
Of his own running style, Thomas said, "I'm a guy who is going to keep the chains moving. I rarely lose yardage. I can run between the tackles or go outside, whatever they need me to do.''
The Dolphins have only two other running backs on their roster in Patrick Cobbs and Lex Hilliard. Last year neither Brown nor Williams had a 100-yard game, and Miami finished next to last in the AFC in scoring.
The Dolphins traded with Washington to move up in the draft. They gave up selections in the third, fifth and seventh rounds.
"It makes me want to go out there and do the best I can to show they didn't make a mistake trading up to get me,'' Thomas said.
His 2,850 career rushing yards in just two seasons at K-State rank second all-time in school history, while his 30 rushing touchdowns place fourth, his 12 career 100-yard performances rank second and his 269-yard outing at North Texas in the 2010 regular season finale was the third-most ever by a Wildcat running back.
Running backs going higher than Thomas included:
• Mark Ingram, Alabama, 1st round, 28th pick, New Orleans
• Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech, 2nd round, 6th pick, Arizona
• Shane Vereen, California, 2nd round, 24th pick, New England
• Mikel Leshoure, Illinois, 2nd round 25th pick, Detroit
With Thomas being drafted, K-State has now had at least one draft selection in each of the last 18 years, which is currently the third-longest among Big 12 Conference schools, behind only Texas and Nebraska.
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