Devin Thomas McNabb’s New Target

By Vidur Malik

The NFC East is full of young and talented receivers who look to be part of the new school of top wide outs. The Eagles’ DeSean Jackson, the Cowboys’ Miles Austin, and the Giants’ trio of Steve Smith, Mario Manningham, and Hakeem Nicks have all proven to be reliable sources for catches and touchdowns for their quarterbacks. The Washington Redskins should be able to join their divisional opponents in that category, with Devin Thomas.

The Redskins are going through a transitional stage, but after things settle down in D.C., look for Thomas to emerge as a playmaking threat.   His 2009 numbers (325 yards, 3 touchdowns) aren’t very impressive, but he’s got the physical tools to withstand the beatings that NFC East defenses give out. At 6’2’’ and 215 pounds, he can fit right in to one of the hardest-hitting divisions in football.

Thomas may end up getting owners more points than they might expect if they select him. He seems to be the only target on the Redskins’ offense who has not proven himself to be a consistent player, but with an experienced quarterback under center, and other receivers who will be targeted by opposing defenses, Thomas seems to have everything necessary for a transition from talented wide out to a focal point of the offense. Chris Cooley has shown that he is a top tight end, and if he can come back from the ankle injury he suffered last year, he can be a consistent option for new quarterback Donovan McNabb. Santana Moss still has breakaway speed, and can benefit from McNabb’s strong arm. McNabb’s past success as an Eagle should also help Thomas improve. Being in the same division as his old team, McNabb should be able to get Thomas accustomed to what he will see from defenses. That should be a big advantage considering the pressure that teams like the Cowboys and Eagles apply to offenses.

Thomas might not become the number one receiver in D.C. next year, but there is reason to believe his numbers will improve significantly from last year, and in a division with so much talent on both sides of the football, the Redskins will need players to step up. The defense has been reliable, and will be crucial this year, because of the weapon-heavy NFC East they will be going against. The Redskins’ offense will have to improve along with the rest of the division if they want to compete. If Thomas can become the NFC East’s next Miles Austin or Steve Smith, the Redskins will have a better shot at improving upon the 4-12 record they put up last year. All the tools for that to happen are in place, and fantasy owners should consider taking a chance on Thomas.


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