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Dallas Thomas: Video Highlights for Former Tennessee OT

James ErmilioCorrespondent IIIDecember 20, 2016

Dallas Thomas: Video Highlights for Former Tennessee OT

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    With the 2013 NFL draft fast approaching, it's time for a deep dive into some of the top prospects. 

    Today, we'll profile Dallas Thomas, the Tennessee lineman who projects as a mid-round pick.

    Thomas tore his labrum during January practices for the Senior Bowl and his recovery—which doctors estimated could take four-to-six months—might impact his draft stock. But I'm not a doctor, so we'll analyze the versatile lineman based on his on-field performance.

    Let's take a look at some of his best highlights.

Vs. Florida, 2012

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    I'll start by saying that I don't think Thomas has the strength and quickness to play tackle in the NFL. I see him more as an interior lineman, and a good one at that. 

    The very first play showcases Thomas' speed and hustle to get to the second level, and that's what you want to see out of a starting guard. But on the next play, you see him get driven back by an interior rusher, and that's a problem. It happens a few times throughout the course of this video, including at around 2:40.  

    Thomas is going to need to improve his overall strength, particularly his lower-body strength, if he hopes to anchor against the big boys in the NFL.  

Vs. Alabama, 2012

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    Right around 3:50, we see a play on which Thomas demonstrates his effectiveness as a puller—he pulls from the LG spot over to the right A gap and lands a powerful block that springs the runner for a big gain. For another notable example, he does it again at 4:40.  

    If Thomas can do that consistently in the NFL, he'll be a useful interior lineman even if his strength never improves.  

    However, another issue with Thomas is lateral quickness—at 4:30, you can see him get beaten laterally by a deke right, then a swim move to the left.

    He may or may not be able to get away with middling quickness against speedy pass-rushers as an interior lineman, but he's almost certain to be a liability at LT in the NFL if he doesn't do more to keep up with speed rushers. 

Vs. South Carolina, 2012

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    More good pulling in this clip and Thomas holds his own against a pretty menacing Gamecock defensive line.  

    He does an excellent job getting to the second level and engaging a defender (one example at 1:55) and he appears to explode well off the snap. Still, there are too many times where he fails to get a push in the run game and drive defenders back (see about 00:19 into this video).  

    Thomas is going to have to improve his leg strength and keep his pads even lower if he wants to leverage NFL defenders.

Vs. NC State, 2012

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    Yet again, we see defenders driving Thomas back (00:41). It's more of the same from Thomas, who displays good balance and explosiveness, but a lack of strength and lateral quickness. The more I watch him, the more he seems to profile as an interior lineman in a zone blocking scheme.  

    One positive to take away is that even when he gets driven back by a defender, he moves his feet well enough to sustain the block. That's an excellent trait and shows that, with a little coaching and weight training, Thomas could be a very good NFL lineman.

    Thomas has the skill set of a good pro lineman, he just has to fill out (at 6'5", he's just 300 pounds) and learn to use his size to his advantage.

Media Session

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    In case you're interested, here's a media session with Thomas via the Vol Report. He comes across as a likable guy. Almost sounds like he was trained by Bill Belichick to compliment every opponent.

    Here's hoping he makes the leap to the NFL successfully—he can be a starting guard for years to come, with the ability to play tackle in a pinch.

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