Position: Free Safety
Projected 40-Time: 4.42
Star Rating: Grade: 94
Draft Projection: 1st Round
Star rating is based on a prospects standing (as of March 5th) in the 2010 Scout.com Draft Rankings. A prospects grade is measured on the following scale:
85-100 = 1st - 2nd
_70-84 = 3rd - 4th
_55-69 = 5th - 6th
_40-54 = 7th Round - UDFA
Strengths: Thomas is an experienced and versatile defender who can play cornerback or safety at the next level. He has great speed and the ball and cover skills to be a big time playmaker. He displays fluid hips transitioning in coverage, has a burst of closing speed and flashes on the scene. He reads the quarterback well and takes good angles towards the action. He plays with intelligence, shows discipline and enjoys the physical aspects of the game. He’s deceptively strong and doesn’t shy away from contact. He’s a high-energy performer who will develop into a special player in the NFL.
Weaknesses: He’s undersized and is labeled as a tweener who doesn’t have a specific position in the secondary. He doesn’t get off blocks well and will reach to make tackles instead of shedding and wrapping up. He has to position himself better against the run and not always attack high.Steuber Says: A two-year starter at Texas, Thomas had a breakthrough year in 2009 recording 77 tackles and eight interceptions, two of which he returned for a touchdown. Thomas started 27 consecutive games at strong safety for the Longhorns over the last two seasons, mainly due to the defensive scheme they ran and because of the responsibilities of the position matching his strengths. But his future in the NFL resides at free safety or even cornerback. At 5-foot-10, 197 pounds, Thomas has a lean build and the quickness and cover skills to succeed on an island against a wide receiver. At just 20 years old (he will turn 21 in May), Thomas is still developing physically and could easily add 10 more pounds on his frame. As far as where he will go in the draft, Thomas could end up in many situations and could go as high as No. 15 to the New York Giants. If the Giants pass on him, the next possible destinations for him are with the San Francisco 49ers at No. 16, Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 18, Houston Texans at No. 20, Green Bay Packers at No. 23 and Philadelphia Eagles at No. 24.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. Steuber’s features are published across the Scout.com network and on FoxSports.com. If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also now follow Chris Steuber on Twitter.