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UFL Draft Pick Defensive Back Dillon Thomas Signs with Ottawa Redblacks 

DB Dillon Thomas has signed with the Ottawa Redblacks

Dillon Thomas was drafted by the San Antonio Brahmas of the XFL in December. He survived the merge and two more draft processes with the Brahmas, only to be released just weeks before training camp started. His time as a free agent was short lived as he would find near immediate interest from Ottawa, and Arena Football League teams.

Less than two weeks after Dylan took to Twitter to express his disappointment about being released before truly been given a chance, he has found another opportunity to prove himself in the 2024 season. 

Who is Dillon Thomas?

Dillon Thomas is a 6’2 190 pound defensive weapon. During his time in college with Northern Illinois University and Missouri State University, he saw snaps at cornerback, safety, and as a hybrid linebacker. He is yet another versatile defensive back being added to the secondary, that can play multiple positions in the CFL.

As I’ve mentioned with several players this offseason, Thomas comes in with the size, and experience to play cornerback, halfback, safety, and linebacker allowing Barron Miles, a former defensive back who cut his teeth as a defensive backs coach before becoming a coordinator, to get creative on the back end with where and how he use his players. 

Thomas did not test at the combine, but did perform very well at his pro-day. One of his most impressive numbers came in a drill that can make or break a defensive back’s career. The 3-cone drill which is designed to exhibit agility and a player’s ability to change direction quickly. The average NFL number in this drill per is a 6.88 for a cornerback. Thomas put up a 6.89, which is in line with what NFL cornerbacks typically produce, over a tenth of a second faster than most safeties, and about two tenths of a second faster than your average linebacker. 

His 40-yard dash was just barely off the mark of an NFL cornerback (4.47) when he ran a 4.53. If you watch him play, any concern about recovery speed quickly melts away as he stays in the hip pocket of future professional receivers throughout his highlight tape. The thing teams should focus on is his first step, he ran a 1.58 10-yard split. This fact along with his 11 reps in the bench press, and 77.25 inch wingspan all lend itself to playing press coverage at a high level. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Thomas make the roster and make an immediate impact in this secondary. 

Where SHOULD he line up?

Considering all the numbers used for comparison’s sake are based on NFL numbers, It’s safe to say Thomas has all the necessary athleticism to be a starter at cornerback or halfback in the CFL. His measurables make him an asset against larger receivers like Dalton Schoen who Ottawa will face in their first regular season game, or essentially the entire group in Montreal. 

This fact alone may play in his favor when it comes to making a case to be on the active roster if not in the starting lineup week one. The thing with Thomas is he could be the type of player whose role evolves over time with the team. Perhaps he starts his career as a cornerback and sees some snaps at halfback early on before eventually also seeing snaps at safety and linebacker situationally. This also bodes well for his long term outlook in the CFL. 

Should Thomas “lose a step” over time he can simply transition into playing safety and eventually maybe even linebacker full-time. 

Last Thoughts

Some may view this as an odd take, but Thomas may be better suited to play the Canadian Game and showcase what he can do in multiple facets of the game, versus sticking in San Antonio. Only time will tell how his time in the CFL works out but Thomas has all the talent in the world to make it work. Now he just needs to show that the mental side of his game can be at the same level in a new ruleset for 2024. 

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Sam Just Reporter
I am a writer and content creator focusing on alternative football leagues like the UFL, CFL, AFL, IFL, NAL, and AIF. If you like alternative football leagues, check out my personal platform Shady Sports Network on YouTube and all your favorite social media platforms.
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