DE Cameron Thomas, San Diego St.*

6’4” – 264 lbs.

Background:

Has been starting for the past three years. Began his collegiate career with a 49-9.0-5.5 line and followed that up with 35-9.5-4.0 over eight games the following year, before compiling a whopping 71-20.5-11.5 as a junior before declaring.

Positives:

Three-year starter who really broke out this past season with a monster campaign. Very well-built defender who played all over the defensive line; lined up as a base end in both even and odd fronts, as well as an interior lineman on four-man lines. Functional strength is clearly very good; almost always looks like he’s in control of what’s going on, keeping his shoulders square, his knees bent, his arms extended, and consistently powering his way through traffic to the ball. Locks out opponents and shows active, heavy hands to discard. Not purely a two-gap player; also shows nice lateral quickness to win off the snap, working his swim move to squeeze through gaps and disrupt plays in the run game. Shows a strong motor in pursuit, pursuing from the backside through the whistle. Offers a wide tackling radius and is a reliable stopper when in range. Power-based rusher who keeps his legs churning to walk back blockers with his bull-rush. Redirects without shifting down when quarterbacks climb the pocket. Very active with his hands and can win even when his initial move is unsuccessful. Closes well and is a thudding hitter with a head of steam.

Negatives:

May need to add a little bit more bulk if teams view him as a five-technique end or interior defensive lineman. Has generally good instincts but commits a little too early on some rushing attempts; would like to see him staying disciplined on the edge. Has much more of a power-based approach to rushing the passer and may not be a major threat to win the edge with speed; didn’t see him bending too much around the edge. Pad level can rise a little bit on his inside rushes. Minor balance issues crop up when he’s too aggressive on the edge.

Summary:

A very impressive physical specimen who combines excellent size and functional strength with very active hands and a nonstop motor, his on-field game is reminiscent of the likes of J.J. Watt, projecting as a potential base end in either a 3-4 or 4-3, or potentially as a defensive tackle on a four-man line. May never be a true speed rusher, but could end up as an every-down starter with the versatility teams look for.

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