DE Chad Thomas, Miami (FL)

6’5” – 281 lbs. – 4.92

Profile:

  • Played sparingly as a reserve in his true freshman season, then started eight games the following year in a relatively unproductive campaign. Saw his production escalate in the two subsequent seasons, starting twenty-five games over that span to conclude his collegiate career.

Positives:

  • Really looks the part. Tall with an athletic frame and good musculature. Arms measured 33.5” at the Combine, with big 10.25” hands. Gives a good effort on a play-to-play basis. Pretty physical at the point of attack, with active hands to shed blockers. Very good athlete. Didn’t run well in Indianapolis but looks fast in pursuit on tape; gives good effort and can make tackles from the backside or down the field. Patient when left open as the read man. Flashes the ability to fire out, dip his shoulder, and make a smooth arc. Good closing burst in pursuit. Has some experience sliding inside and knifing through gaps on obvious passing downs, and will also take snaps out of a two-point stance (albeit in an obvious rush capacity). Can use his length to bat passes.

Negatives:

  • Frame is a little bit linear. Doesn’t always get the most out of his length; needs to extend his arms more consistently to keep opponents out of his frame. Get-off at the line of scrimmage lags behind some of his teammates. Can get stuck on blocks and doesn’t seem to have a lot of counters to deploy in those situations. Seems a little bit slow to diagnose/find the ballcarrier when playing in the run game. Will take himself out of some plays by flowing down the line and opening up cutback lanes. Can be knocked off-course too easily when gap-shooting. May not have much of a role in an odd front. Production was solid this past season but didn’t fully live up to the hype he generated as a recruit. For a prospect whose physical/athletic gifts are his calling card, didn’t blow anyone away with his workout in Indianapolis; 4.92 in the 40, 29” vertical leap.

Summary:

  • Unlike many gifted prospects whose production didn’t quite match their tools, is a likable prospect who gives good effort on a snap-to-snap basis and clearly has the potential to develop into a starter if he can learn to diagnose in the run game and use his length to his advantage. Those are coachable, but didn’t really materialize over four seasons at a major program. Looks like a possible second-day pick.
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