Brandon Thomas, OG/OT, Clemson (HT: 6’3¼” WT: 317 lbs.)
Third Round: 100th Pick
NFL Comparison: A.Q. Shipley, C, Baltimore Ravens
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- Has shown versatility to play both the tackle and guard positions at a high collegiate level.
- Was a consensus top offensive line performer from 2014 Senior Bowl practices.
- Clemson’s best offensive lineman; recorded 98 knockdowns in 36 career starts and was a two-time All-ACC selection, per the Clemson Athletic Department.
- Great feet with smooth ease of movement in pass protection.
- Unique blend of long arms and massive upper-body power; presses defenders way off their spots very powerfully.
- Very large, strong hands that are hard for defenders to shake.
- Great at helping with combo blocks and then getting upfield to the second level while maintaining leverage.
- A true “weigh-in warrior” at the 2014 Senior Bowl with a monstrously broad chest, good definition and long arms.
- Proficient at executing reach blocks and forcing athletic defenders to flow laterally as opposed to coming downhill.
- Engages defenders with anger and a sense of purpose.
- Relentless player at the point of attack who fights until the whistle and keeps his motor turned on.
- Had the sixth-longest arms of all offensive linemen at the combine and still managed to put up the sixth-best number in the bench press.
- Tied for the fifth-best vertical leap and ran the ninth-fastest time in the 40-yard dash.
- Exceedingly strong initial punch.
- Relatively fast offensive lineman who’s actually “quicker than he is fast.”
- Was a 2013 academic All-American.
- Keeps too wide a base on the edge and can be exposed by speed conversion from pass-rushers.
- Will clearly be targeted strictly as a guard by NFL evaluators.
- Has clear issues with overextension and poor body placement when anticipating outside speed.
- Even with the understanding that he has some of the strongest hands in 2014’s offensive line class, he still needs refinement with actual hand placement.
- Punches to the outside of defenders’ shoulders, which looks like an NFL holding call waiting to happen.
- Can slip into periods of prolonged play in which pad level can be too high.
- Can use long arms as a crutch to not ladder-drill with his feet, which can result in losing balance.
- Lacks above-average lateral agility.
- Tied for the eighth-worst three-cone and 10th-worst short shuttle times at the 2014 combine.
- Lower-body power and leg drive don’t seem as dominant as his upper-body movements.
- Lacks a great amount of explosion out of stance and depends on “going to work” once engaged.
Personal Notes (via Clemson Athletic Department)
- Coached by Dave Gutshall at Dorman High.
- Recruited by Billy Napier.
- Chose Clemson over Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, N.C. State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Virginia.
- Graduated on May 10, 2013 with a degree in secondary education.
- Born Feb. 18, 1991.
Brandon Thomas may have been playing out of position through his final two years at Clemson, manning the left tackle position, but he has certainly put enough on tape for NFL scouts to feel very comfortable with.
As a guard, Thomas showed excellence pulling into free space and springing big runs in much the same way evaluators saw Thomas—at left tackle—executing similar tasks at the second level when asked to engage and neutralize athletic linebackers in the open off of combo blocks. Thomas’ very impressive upper-body power coupled with his speed, mean streak, motor and long arms all point to great things in the future.
Throw in the impressive Senior Bowl performance and the decorated academic background at Clemson, and Thomas is poised to be off the board much sooner than many may expect in May. Evaluators will find that reviewing Thomas’ tape is a very pleasant surprise, and he is a prospect who the draft media at large appears to be sleeping on.
Draft Projection: Second Round