North Carolina Senior
40: 5.14 (Campus)
PROS: Shows a nice first step off the snap and able to get leverage vs. the run because of it. Shows some ability to get penetration and make plays in the backfield. Can anchor and hold the point of attack. Is a powerful player that shows potential as a bull rusher. Has a good motor, will pursue, and shows good range for a player his size.
CONS: Lacks ideal upfield quickness and won't be a consistent factor vs. the pass. Lacks ideal range to really make impact plays in pursuit. Needs to do a better job vs. the double team. Needs to improve his technique and needs to get off blocks better.
OVERVIEW: He's a big guy that flashes his potential and power to play the run and be a somewhat disruptive presence. What is intriguing about him is that he's a big guy that moves very well. Only had 3.5 career sacks while at UNC and 9 tackles for loss.
NFL FORECAST: He's not an impact player because of his stat line in terms of the plays he'll make. But he is a space eater that can play the run. I don't think he's completely polished right now. He has a good power game and can toss aside a blocker, but doesn't consistently always get leverage and make plays at the point of attack because he needs to improve his technique. But he's a guy that three years down the road, could be a very good NFL defensvie tackle. He has the potential to play in both a one and two-gap scheme, but his upside is greater in the two-gap 3-4 scheme. If a 3-4 team drafts him, I think he'll be a nice rotational player for two or three years before he can assume a starting role in a similar vein as Gabe Watson. If a 4-3 team takes him I think he can contribute right away as a run defender, although he's not going to be a huge run plugger right off the bat. But his LTI might be a little better as a two-down player and should be able to contribute significant reps by his second season. With his strength and relative quickness in time he can be one of the top 3-4 nose tackles. I think he can eventually develop into a Wilfork-type down the road.
ATL FORECAST: Thomas can play in Atlanta because he's got a good motor, and is fairly disruptive for a player his size. He can contribute significant minutes to the Flacons right off the bat on running downs and will work well as a nose tackle behind Jerry. In time, he could eventually develop into a starter in the Grady Jackson mold, but for the most part he'll be a two-down player in Atlanta. A very valuable one, and his presence should shore up the Falcons run defense for the next several seasons.
VALUE: For a 3-4 team, I would take him in the late second round because I think he's a bit of a work in progress. For a 4-3 team, I'd probably wait until the third or fourth round.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
POINT OF ATTACK: 4.0
PASS RUSH: 2.5
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.