Southern California Senior
PROS: Shows good ability and potential as a press corner. Has ball skills and does a nice job playing the deep ball, using his size to get positioning against the receiver. Has decent hips. Shows some ability in run support, able to deliver hit and cut a runner's legs. Shows some burst and ability to come off the edge as a blitzer.
CONS: Needs more polish with his footwork and backpedal and has some trouble turning and running with receivers. Gives up too much cushion at times and can get turned around in coverage. Lacks burst to consistently make plays on the ball. Will take some poor angles in run support and not a great tackler considering his size. Lacks ideal awareness when working in zone coverage.
OVERVIEW: You like his size and potential to play in press coverage. But overall he's limited and fairly raw in coverage. Missed a lot of time early in his career due to injuries. As a freshman missed three games due to having mono. The following year, he was limited to only 4 games because of a sprained ankle and broken foot. Missed all of the 2007 season season with a shoulder injury. Came back as a nickel corner in 2008, starting twice and finished year with 15 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 7 breakups. Senior year was lone year as a starter with 57 tackles, 1 sack, no picks,a nd 11 passes defended.
NFL FORECAST: Thomas may be a bit raw which may be attributed to his rich injury history. Just was never on the field enough to really develop. So he might be a guy that could be a late bloomer. But as such, he's not ready to contribute much early in his pro career. Maybe a few years down the road, he might start to live up to his physical tools. He fits best in a team that likes to play press coverage. But he's not great in man or zone coverage, and is not as physical a run defender as you'd expect from a player with his size. So his ability to stick in the league long enough to get that needed development will depend on if he can play on special teams right off the bat. If he can, I could see him develop eventually as a competent nickel corner down the road that teams will like because his size allows him to matchup. But if he doesn't, then he's just too limited as of now in coverage for teams to really find a ton of value.
ATL FORECAST: He would be an upgrade in size, but just doesn't offer the cover skills to be anything more than the fifth corner as a rookie in Atlanta. And as such would have to play on special teams. And unless he can stick there for two or three seasons, don't see him really developing a lot in Atlanta. He'd be buried on the depth chart and despite having the better size than guys like Owens and Grimes, not sure he has the cover skills to challenge them anytime soon.
VALUE: For a team that is willing to be patient and can hide him on the depth chart for a couple of years, he might be worth a fifth round pick for a team that likes press corners. Otherwise he's a project that a team can take a flyer on in the seventh.
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.