THOMAS OWENS | WR | FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL
Height: 6010 | Weight: 198
Thomas "T.O." Owens is a 40-game starter who lines up at a variety of WR positions in Butch Davis' pro style offense at Florida International. Owens is equally effective whether he lines up as a X, Z or Slot receiver, and his versatility and football IQ playing for a former NFL head coach makes him an attractive prospect.
Owens' weight is a question mark, listed anywhere from 198 pounds on the official school website all the way to 240 pounds on outlets such as Fox Sports. An undisclosed knee injury has sidelined Owens for the final four games of the 2017 season and has hampered his ability to perform in the pre-draft process, so his official measurements and testing scores are a huge question mark. Physically, Owens has extremely ripped triceps, broad shoulders, twitched up hamstrings, and uses his body control, SAQ, and acceleration to regularly beat defenders. Owens possesses outstanding functional play strength and is extremely physical at the catch point, which is why it is difficult to discern whether Owens is 200 or 240 pounds, since he is, aesthetically-speaking, a bulkier receiver.
Owens has a quick release and does a good job of timing his acceleration to disguise his route stems against CBs in Off coverage. Owens is crafty with his hands and subtly uses his arms to create separation at the top of his route on Comebacks and works aggressively back to the ball to make the catch. Owens is an extremely fluid, savvy route runner for his size and his 3.72 yards per route run leads all WRs in the 2018 Draft class, per Pro Football Focus. Owens is a consistent hands-catcher and does a good job of adjusting his body to low throws to get his hands under the football. Owens displays terrific kinesthetic sense and can manipulate his body along the sideline, keep his feet in bounds on back shoulder throws, and maintain possession throughout the catch. Owens is very strong at the catch point and shows courage in challenging for contested catches, even making plays between defenders in double coverage. Owens’ physical brand of WR and courage helps him draw defensive pass interference penalties and his aggressive mentality gives him a knack of making plays in traffic. Owens is also an extremely prolific deep threat, catching 8 out of 8 catchable targets for 335 yards, including a jaw-dropping 75 yard haul against UCF in 2017. Owens is an enthusiastic run blocker and shows the same urgency whether the play is coming his way or on the total opposite side of the field.
Prior to the 2017 season, FIU Coach Butch Davis compared Owens to Michael Irvin, a player Davis is very familiar with during his time on the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff. Panthers Receivers Coach Aubrey Hill has lauded Owens for his leadership and mentoring of the FIU receiving corps and has long admired Owens' consistency and willingness to make the tough play. Ultimately, Owens is a complete WR with a perfect blend of power and quickness and grades out as a fringe NFL starter. Were it not for the poor timing of his knee injury at the end of the 2017 season, you would certainly hear Owens' name gain a lot more traction in this draft process, but his inability to test has unfortunately allowed other WRs in the class to pass him. Going purely off the tape and seeing how he wins, Owens is absolutely talented enough to feature in an NFL WR corps and is one of our favorite under-the-radar gems in this class. Owens is similar in body type and play style to Marvin Jones Jr. and is best suited to play any WR spot in a West Coast Offense where his route variety and SAQ can help him create separation and get open in several ways.
Overall Grade: 77
Athletic Ability: 5
Play Strength: 6
Play Speed: 5
Competitive Toughness: 6
In-Traffic/Contested Catches: 4
Spectacular Catch: 4
Route Precision: 4
Route Variety: 4
Red Zone Threat: 3
Run Blocking: 4
Run After Catch: 2
Explosiveness/Return Ability: 2
Player Comparison: Marvin Jones Jr.
Projected Round: Round 7/PFA
For information on our grading criteria, click here.