Thomas To The Windy City

West Virginia linebacker J.T. Thomas is the third Mountaineer selected in the 2011 NFL Draft, going to the Chicago Bears in the sixth round.

J.T. Thomas took a pragmatic approach to the draft, promising not to worry no matter how things came out. Still, there's no doubt that he's pleased after being selected with the 30th pick in the round (#195 overall) on Saturday.

Thomas worked his way from an injury-plagued redshirt season to become a multi-year starter for the Mountaineers. He finished his career with 235 total tackles, including 106 solo stops. Along the way, he forced four fumbles, broke up 13 passes and recorded seven sacks while becoming a stalwart on a West Virginia defense that was one of the top units in the country in 2010.

Even though he checked in at 6-1 and 241 pounds, Thomas was viewed as undersized by some scouts, even though he stood up well and got to the ball consistently during his last two seasons at WVU. He has the speed and instincts to be solid in pass coverage as well, and with his willingness to take on any task or play any position, he should be able to carve a spot for himself in the league.

At the NFL Combine, Thomas recorded a 4.68 time in the 40-yard dash, and had 23 repetitions on the bench press. He'll join a Bears roster dotted with a number of outstanding 'backers, including veterans Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs and Pisa Tinoisamoa. Patrick Trahan, Brian Iwua, Chris Johnson, Nick Roach and Rod Wilson round out the current eight-man depth chart at linebacker.

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