January 2, 2012; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Darron Thomas (5) looks to pass against the Wisconsin Badgers during the second half during the 2012 Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Darron Thomas Earns Tryouts With Steelers and Cardinals


Darron Thomas was among the many undrafted Oregon Ducks after the 2012 NFL Draft. The only Oregon Ducks to be drafted in the 2012 NFL Draft were LaMichael JamesMark AsperJosh Kaddu, and David Paulson. The fact the Thomas went undrafted was not very surprising despite the amount of talent at the quarterback position, but it was surprising that Thomas received no contract offers afterwards. Thomas had a very productive 2011 season ending with a Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin were he  threw for 2,761 yards and 33 touchdowns and also ran for 206 yards and three touchdowns. Despite not receiving a contract offer following the 2012 NFL Draft, Darron Thomas was invited to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals rookie minicamps on a tryout basis. I will break down how I feel Thomas can fit in with each team and where I see Darron Thomas at the end of the rookie minicamps.

Let’s start off with the Pittsburgh Steelers. There is no question that Ben Roethlisberger will be the starting quarterback in Pittsburgh when the season begins. The question with the Pittsburgh Steelers is about who the second string quarterback will be. The other quarterbacks on the Pittsburgh Steelers roster are Troy Smith and Jerrod Johnson. Jerrod Johnson has never played in an NFL game after being drafted in the 2011 NFL Draft. Troy Smith use to be the back-up quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers. In my opinion, Troy Smith will be the back-up quarterback because of experience. Based on the fact that Smith has played in NFL games, he will be the back-up quarterback on day one of the 2012 NFL season. Darron Thomas will be battling Jerrod Johnson for a roster spot with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The second team that Darron Thomas will be trying to make the cut for is the Arizona Cardinals. The Arizona Cardinals have four quarterbacks on their roster. Their quarterbacks are John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Richard Bartel, and newly drafted Ryan Lindley. This minicamp invite for Darron Thomas confuses me greatly. I am confused because I do not understand why the Arizona Cardinals would invite an undrafted quarterback to minicamp when they already have three returning quarterbacks and a newly drafted quarterback on their roster. The only reason I could think of to why Thomas got this invite is because Richard Bartel is 29 years old and Ryan Lindley is going to be a work in progress in the NFL. Just like the Pittsburgh Steelers, Darron Thomas will be fighting for the chance to be the third or maybe even a fourth string quarterback in Arizona.

The biggest aspect in which Darron Thomas will need to fix if he wants to earn a spot on an NFL roster is his throwing motion. It is good that Thomas releases the ball at a high point, but he has a lot of wasted motion in his throws that can delay the timing of routes. Thomas will also need to work on becoming more accurate on longer throws because the better NFL quarterbacks need to be able to make longer throws and be able to pin-point them into tight spots. Because of this, I do not think Darron Thomas will earn a spot on the Pittsburgh Steelers roster or the Arizona Cardinals roster as strictly a quarterback. The only way I see Thomas earning a roster spot is if the Pittsburgh Steelers or Arizona Cardinals want to use him much like the New York Jets used Brad Smith. They will use Thomas as a option quarterback and not as a true quarterback. I believe Darron Thomas will not earn a spot on either the Pittsburgh Steelers or Arizona Cardinals roster, but if he does it will be with the Arizona Cardinals.

For more 2012 NFL Draft coverage, check out my podcast The Onside Kick. The Onside Kick covers all the biggest stories in the NBA, NCAA Basketball, NFL, NCAA Football, and MLB.

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Tags: 2012 NFL Draft Arizona Cardinals Baltimore Ravens Ben Roethlisberger Brad Smith Darron Thomas David Paulson Jerrod Johnson John Skelton Josh Kaddu Kevin Kolb LaMichael James Mark Asper New York Jets Oregon Ducks Football Pittsburgh Steelers Richard Bartel Ryan Lindley San Francisco 49ers Troy Smith

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