West Virginia Senior
Active player with a good motor that can make plays in pursuit. Has good speed and shows good closing burst. Shows some potential as a blitzer off the corner, able to make stop in the backfield. Comfortable moving in space due to his speed and works well on short zones. Shows some ability to sniff out screens and make stops in the open field. Has good strength and toughness for his size, and not afraid to take on a lead blocker.
Undersized and gets pushed around at the point of attack. Not a great tackler and will get run over by bigger tight ends and backs. Gets stuck in traffic and doesn't get off blocks well. Takes some poor angles when playing in space and lacks ideal awareness when working in coverage.
Thomas is a guy that will fly around the ball and he'll make some plays in pursuit and space, but he's an undersized guy that despite his speed and quickness is not as adept in coverage as you'd like. He projects as a decent backup WILL linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, but unless he can improve in coverage or stick on special teams, he doesn't offer a lot to like going forward.
If he was better in coverage, I'd be confident he could stick as a quality reserve and potential stopgap starter down the road as a WILL linebacker, particularly in a Cover-2 scheme. While he probably projects better in that scheme than most because it prioritizes speed and range over size. But he doesn't show the awareness and instincts in coverage to really like him there. So his best bet is to stick on special teams and then hope two or three years down the road he can carve out a decent niche as a quality reserve/stopgap starter.
Thomas could stick as a reserve outside linebacker in Atlanta because of his speed, range, and toughness if he can prove himself on special teams. But he's probably projecting best as a Robert James-type that makes the practice squad and/or plays solely on special teams. He's good enough to make the roster as the sixth or seventh linebacker, but he's not really a threat to be anything more than that unless he improves enough in coverage to where he can begin to graduate into a Coy Wire-like role and compete in the nickel. But he's a guy that is going to be hard-pressed to stick beyond three or so years unless he makes that development and progress.
Thomas has enough speed and upside on defense to get some looks in the seventh round by 4-3 teams that like speed. But he's probably a better value as an undrafted guy because he's not the best bet to make a roster right off the bat.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Point of Attack: 2.0
Pass Rush: 3.0
Scouting reports of the linebackers in the 2011 Draft.
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