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Chargers Draft Pick: Cam Thomas 

Cam Thomas

Cam Thomas

6’4, 330 pounds | Defensive tackle | North Carolina

Pass Rush/Closing Ability/Moves and Counter Moves: A non-factor for the most part against the pass. Most likely a two down player at the next level. Uses a bull rush most of the time, does not have a even-halfway refined assortment of pass rush moves. Does not use hands well. 3.5 sacks over a 4 year career, none of which came in his senior season.

Pursuit/Lateral Movement and Agility: Does not make plays outside of the box, rarely makes play outside of either B gap. Heavy feet that do not cover a lot of ground. More of a stay at home guy that is always late to the action, and that’s when he gets there.

Quickness/Explosion: Can get out of his stance well at times, but he tires easily and will go a series of plays where he is the last defender to move. The initial pop out of the stance is there, but it completely disappears at times.

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Run Defend/Recognition: Can eat blocks and free up his teammates. Enjoys the dirty work. Struggles to recognize lateral blocking schemes. Content just flying up north, out of control at times. Strong presence against the inside run, can control two gaps.

Size/Length/Hand Size: Has the perfect body for a run defending defensive tackle in a lot of schemes. Has a huge rear that generates a lot of power. Very long arms with big, country strong hands.

Strength/Ability to Shed Blocks: Immense strength when he has a full dose of energy. Struggles to get off blocks because he plays too high, and makes for an easy target for the blocker to stay on. When his technique is on however, he can free himself up easily because of the power he can exert.

Tackling: 57 tackles over the past 2 years, averages out to just over two per game. Plays high and it has an adverse affect on his ability to drive through the ball carrier when he is in position. His sheer power can knock a ball carrier backward or move the pile. Cleans up well.

Technique/Hand Use/Leverage: Plays way too high, even when his full bar of energy is there. Gets straight up right out of his stance will try to outmuscle the blocker, which will not work in the NFL. Can deliver a pop with his hands and control the engagement. A strong presence against the double team because he has consistent footwork, always chopping and active.

Versatility: Can play the 2-gap role in a 3-4 at nose tackle, but his best fit is the 1-technique in a 4-3. He will not offer much in terms of versatility, but he can play the 2 down run-plugger-role at a high level. Will struggle to make an impact as a pass rusher. One dimensional.

Final Word: Seeing Cam Thomas up close and personal down at the Senior Bowl, it is easy to realize why scouts are high on the potential with him. He has a thick, strong body from head to toe that is capable of beating up any blocker that gets in his way. He never really came in to his own as a dominant inside presence at North Carolina, but he does not have the kind of game that will show up on the stat sheet. He eats up space and blockers, freeing up his teammates and it was evident in 2009 as the UNC front seven had a breakout year as a unit. He brings the lunch-pail mentality with a high motor and team first attitude. He needs to keep himself in better shape so that he can play at a high level throughout the course of an entire game, but he proved at UNC that he puts football first as he lost over 30 pounds since his freshman year and molded himself in to a powerful defender. Because of the limitations and inconsistent play over the past two years, Thomas projects to be a 3rd-4th round pick. However, he is a guy that can play right away and fulfill one of the many run stuffing holes across the league. – mockingthedraft.com

Strengths:
Excellent height and bulk with long arms and big hands — Very strong and powerful — Explosive and quick with good athleticism — Nimble feet — Stout at the point of attack — Fantastic run defender — Terrific bull rusher — Able to take on and occupy multiple blockers — Will play through pain — Tough with  an edge — Still improving and has upside.

Weaknesses:
Underachiever — Not a creative pass rusher and repertoire of moves is limited — Won’t get a lot of penetration — Inconsistent pad level and leverage — Lack range — Motor runs hot and cold — Mediocre hand use — Issues with conditioning and stamina — Wasn’t real productive.

Notes:
Was a two-year starter for the Tar Heels — Played in a rotation with Aleric Mullins, who is also a prospect in this class, and Marvin Austin, who could be a first round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft — Missed some time with an ankle injury in 2007 — Broke his hand in 2009 but to his credit didn’t miss any games — Profiles as a nose tackle in either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme — Began shooting up draft boards around the league following an impressive performance at the Senior Bowl — Has all the physical tools to be an outstanding two-gapper at the next level but the key is getting him to play up  to  his potential on a consistent basis. – Draftcountdown.com


Position: Defensive Tackle
School: North Carolina
Class: Senior
Height: 6-4
Weight: 330
DOB: December 12 1986 (Eagle Springs, NC)

Pros

  • Great height, bulk, and long arms
  • Very strong upper and lower body, strong at the point of attack
  • Ideal size and skill set to be a nose tackle and anchor a 3-4 defense
  • Effective bull rush, can really collapse the pocket
  • Shows good athleticism, quick feet, and can move down the line
  • Requires a double team on most plays, and can control 2 gaps
  • Fires out of his stance, plays with good burst

Cons

  • Offers nothing as a pass rusher outside of the bull rush
  • Doesn’t use his hands well to get past lineman
  • Very inconsistent, was non-existent at times in college
  • Motor runs hot and cold, doesn’t have very good stamina
  • Needs to improve pad level and create better leverage

Overall

Cam Thomas profiles as a 3-4 nose tackle prospect. At North Carolina Thomas underachieved while playing in a traditional 4 man front, he was not productive at all (3.5 sacks in 4 years), and was only the the field for about 60% of snaps. He will no doubt be drafted by a team who runs a 3-4, and is looking for someone to anchor their front 7. Thomas has ideal size, strength, and is not a bad athlete. He can effectively collapse the pocket up the middle with his brute strength, can be a space eater and free up space for the rest of the front 7 to work. Don’t expect much from Thomas in terms of sacks, but with the explosion of the 3-4 defense in the N.F.L, and the nose tackle position being the most important, Thomas will be highly valued by many teams and could be a very effective starter at the next level. Thomas is a second round prospect. – nfldraftgeek.com

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