Cameron Thomas – Edge – 22 years – RS Junior – San Diego State
Cut : 1m96
Weight : 122 kg
Estimated draft position: 2nd round
Stats 2021 : 14 matches, 71 tackles, 11.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble
NFL Comparison: Sam Hubbard
– Use of hands
– Run defense
Thanks to a particularly successful 2021 campaign, Cameron Thomas has built a solid reputation, notably winning the title of best defender in his conference. An explosive player, his devastating first step gives him the advantage over the linemen. Very lively and nervous for his size, he is too fast for the guards when he rushes inside. Beyond his speed of execution, the San Diego State product is also a power player with devastating hands. He is able to push his opposite in contact just with the violence of his arm. Not one-armed either when it comes to his overall technique, his panoply is quite complete. In force or dodge, it is very effective.
This combination of power and hand technique makes him a tough player to stop, either inside or out. He also uses these skills to shine in the racing game. Skilled at disengaging from the block, his big engine allows him to continue his effort to track down the ball carrier. Also very quick in his lateral movements, he is very effective in catching the running back as shown by his number of tackles last season. An attractive versatility for a staff who could assign him different roles depending on the patterns and match situations.
– Position to be defended
If Thomas is able to rush from different places, his preferential position has yet to be defined. If he presents himself with a history of defensive end 43, he has evolved all along the line of San Diego State. With his abilities against the ground game, the temptation to place him in defensive end 34 could be attractive, but he should then expand and gain power. Which could be done to the detriment of its explosiveness.
Like all players who perform outside the Power 5, there are high questions about future performance against the NFL level. If the Mountain West conference is far from infamous, the adversity is less there than in the SEC or the Big10. Thomas has rarely faced players called up to start in the NFL. To his credit, great performances against Arizona and Utah, two Pac12 programs, where he often put pressure on the opposing quarterback.
In some matches, Thomas seemed to slow down as the game progressed. He must prove that he can disrupt the opposing line throughout the four quarters and have an impact, including at the end of the match.
New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, Kanas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers
Explosive, athletic, powerful, tall and technically accomplished, Cameron Thomas could be a real bargain in a deep class. But each draft has its share of surprises. It could be this year’s. To the point of seeing him pointing his nose at the end of the first round? Not impossible. Its profile is attractive and its room for improvement is significant. With the ability to contribute both outside and inside, he could make a creative staff happy. When it comes to hybrid pass rushers, Bill Belichick is never far away. In the defense of the Patriots, the prospect of the Aztecs would have something to flourish. If the Chiefs could prioritize other needs with their first two picks, one of their picks from the 2nd round would be relevant to strengthen the line. In Green Bay, the defensive staff is looking for a profile capable of rushing both from the outside or from the inside, hand-stitched for Thomas?