The Falcons could use some good offensive line depth at both the guard and tackle spots. Clemson’s Brandon Thomas looked like a guy who could have gone in the late first round before his ACL injury suffered in a workout with the dreaded New Orleans Saints.
Atlanta has shown interest in the Clemson offensive lineman, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter. The Falcons sent a pair of scouts to work out the talented Clemson lineman at his pro day back in early March.
Combine/Pro Day Measurements
Height: 6'3-1/4" Weight: 317 pounds
Arm Length: 34-3/4" Hand Measurement: 10-1/2"
40-yard dash: 5.09 sec. 10-yard split: 1.78 sec.
20-yard shuttle: 4.83 sec. Three-cone Drill: 8.13 sec. Bench Reps: 35 reps
Vertical Jump: 29.0" Broad Jump: 8'2"
2013: 13 games started, 13 games played at left tackle
2012: 13 games started, 13 games played at left tackle
2011: 10 games started, 13 games played at guard and tackle
2010: 10 games played at guard and tackle
Thomas is extremely quick-footed and shows good technique with his hands. He understands how to use his punch effectively to throw a defensive end off his initial move. He can also play both guard and tackle effectively and has three years of experience starting.
He shows excellent lateral movement skills and has better length than would be expected from his shorter-than-average frame. Thomas has a bit of a mean streak and is insanely competitive. It’s allowed him to hold up well to guys like Jadeveon Clowney and Jeremiah Attaochu throughout his career.
Despite being a very technically sound player, Thomas doesn’t have ideal size for either guard or tackle. He’s built similarly to the average center in terms of raw height and weight. The question is whether his ridiculously long arms and large hands will make up for that.
He also isn’t super quick off the snap and isn’t the best player laterally. The Falcons would have trouble using him on screens because of his inability to disengage and pop out on the left side. His ideal role would be at right guard, and that’s not a point of focus with Jon Asamoah now in Atlanta.
How does he fit the Comrade Filter?
As one of Clemson’s permanent co-captains, it’s a bit shocking to see that Thomas was once arrested during his career with the Tigers. However, the offense seems extremely minor, as it was a public disorderly conduct arrest during his freshman year of college according to Greg Wallace of Orange and White.
The only other real issue comes from the ACL injury he suffered in his Saints workout. However, neither issue seems to be something the Falcons would be worried about, as he seemingly reformed from the arrest with no subsequent arrests on his record, and the injury can be recovered from.
Thomas is ideally a guard in the NFL and will be selected later than he deserves to because of bad timing on an injury that will force whoever takes him to sit him for a season. The only teams that could truly afford to do that will have multiple compensatory picks.
His size isn’t ideal for tackle, but Thomas could be a surprisingly good one if he can show the same kind of technical prowess he had before his injury when he returns. If a team selects him before the compensatory fourth range, it would be a shock.
How he would fit into the Falcons' plans
Atlanta could take him as early as 137 in the fourth round. However, it would make the most sense for them to pick him up later. If he falls to a range where they could stash him away for a year on injured reserve and then have him compete in 2015, that would be ideal.
Thomas fits well at left guard, right guard and right tackle in the Falcons’ blocking schemes. The question is whether new offensive line coach Mike Tice is willing to have a redshirt in his group of offensive linemen for a season.
All stats used are either from Pro Football Focus' Premium Stats (subscription required), ESPN, CFBStats or the NFL. All combine and pro day info is courtesy NFL Draft Scout. All contract information is courtesy of Spotrac and Rotoworld.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, College Football, NFL and the NFL draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.
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