Skylar Thomas is coming home. Toronto FC went a bit closer to the board with their 11th overall selection by bringing in Syracuse senior Thomas who should be in line to compete for minutes in the centre of the defense.
On paper Thomas has all of the things that you want from a CB. His height at 6-4 is appealing as it gives him the size to be that bruising kind of defender that so often thrives in MLS. He may not have the pace to keep up with some of the faster forwards in the league but that just means he will have to work to improve the way he reads the game so that his positioning makes up for that little bit of a lack of speed.
Thomas is certainly a weapon on set pieces at both ends of the field as he chipped in the occasional goal for Syracuse and even found the back of the net at the combine. He is also capable of winning any ball the comes near him in the box on the defensive side of things. He combines his height with a good ability to jump making it very difficult for anyone to beat him to a ball in the air.
He was the anchor of the Syracuse defence in front of fellow TFC draft pick, Alex Bono, for the past three seasons. As a four year starter for the school he certainly built up a very strong college resume which had him on the radar for all three Canadian clubs as well as some teams south of the border.
Thomas could be looked at as the natural replacement for Doneil Henry on the Toronto roster but hopefully the club will bring in someone with more experience to fill that starting role. That would give time for Thomas to work on his game and develop the way that he reads the play either by coming off the bench or by being a starter with the USL Pro team.
There are enough similarities between Thomas and Henry for fans to see the connection between the two. They both get you excited with their size and athleticism but will occasionally leave you scratching your head about their decision making.
Thomas could be a contributor in 2015 but he is more likely to be one for a year or two down the road barring injuries forcing him in to the lineup early in his career. The worst case scenario is that along with Simonin he provides some much needed defensive depth for the club.