Zach Thomas NFL Draft 2022: Scouting Report for San Diego State OT
HEIGHT: 6'4 7/8"
HAND: 10 1/4"
ARM: 33 7/8"
WINGSPAN: 6'10 1/2"
40-YARD DASH: 4.96
— Very good initial/lateral quickness and pad level to work under, inside and around defenders on the front and backside of zone runs.
— Has loose, springy movements on the move to track down targets on screens, pulls and climbs off of combo blocks.
— Gets his second step in the ground very quickly and has the range to consistently execute scoop and overtake blocks on the backside of zone cut-offs and combinations.
— Adept body control and understanding of the play's intent to adjust his positioning to pin, seal and create alleys off of his backside.
— Flashes the explosiveness and foot quickness to create space out of his stance and hit his landmarks on short, 45-degree pass sets.
— Long arms and broad shoulders with room to add weight to his frame.
— Rudimentary overall technique in pass protection that he'll need to revamp before he sees an NFL field.
— Plays with poor weight distribution and posture in pass protection due to a bad habit of leaning, playing on his toes and erratic strike timing.
— Struggles transitioning into his anchor, lacking the lower-half mechanics and play strength to effectively generate force through the ground, brace and slow down the bull rush.
— Middling power on contact and functional strength to consistently maintain his base against stout run defenders that work their hands inside his frame.
- 12 starts at LT.
- Team captain.
— Former 2-star offensive and defensive line recruit out of Carlsbad High School in California.
— Had a season-ending knee injury three games into the 2018 season.
— Invited and accepted his invite to the 2022 Shrine Bowl in Las Vegas.
— 31 career starts; 17 at RT, 12 at LT, two at RG.
— Training with Duke Manyweather in Dallas leading up to the draft.
Thomas is a four-year starter with 31 career starts primarily at tackle and most recently at left tackle in 2021 inside San Diego State's run-heavy, zone-based run scheme. He has broad shoulders, long arms, large hands and very good athletic ability.
Thomas is an adept zone run-blocker who uses his quickness and pad level to work inside and around defenders on angle-drive, scoop and combination blocks. Once locked inside the frame of defenders, he shows a keen understanding of the play's intent, with the leg drive, strain and use of leverage to widen, displace and steer defenders to open up lanes off his backside. He is also a capable blocker in space who uses solid angles and his quickness to track and connect on smaller targets on climbs, pulls and screens.
Thomas flashes the burst and quickness out of his stance in pass protection to get to his landmark in good position on short, 45-degree angle pass sets. However, he quickly loses proper weight distribution, posture and leverage due to opening his hips too early, erratic strike timing/placement and leaning into contact. This leads to too many glaring, clean losses and suspect anchoring ability when rushers convert speed to power.
Overall, Thomas has one clearly identifiable strength as a skilled zone run-blocker with very good quickness, pad level and length to work with. However, he needs major work in pass protection, which will likely prevent him from seeing an NFL field until he learns to play with better posture, balance and use of hands. Thomas has the proven versatility to compete for a roster spot as a swing backup right away with some spot starter potential during his first contract.
GRADE: 6.0 (Late Round 5/Early Round 6 - High-Level Developmental Prospect)
OVERALL RANK: 221
POSITION RANK: IOL23
PRO COMPARISON: Will Richardson
Written by B/R NFL Scout Brandon Thorn