By Charlie Campbell
Summary: Georgia has been a factory for NFL talent, producing a lot of excellent players in recent years. Thus, it was very noteworthy when Thomas earned a starting job as a true freshman in 2017. He lined up at right tackle and played a big role in the potent rushing attack that carried the offense to an appearance in the National Championship game.
With Isaiah Wynn off to the NFL, Thomas took over at left tackle for Georgia in 2018 and had an excellent season as the blind-side protector for Jake Fromm. Once again, Thomas helped a potent rushing attack, working in combination with his fellow offensive linemen to control the line of scrimmage for running backs D’Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield.
Thomas was rock solid in 2019, creating a lot of impressive game tapes. The junior was superb versus Florida and its future NFL edge rushers. Thomas gave up some plays to Auburn’s Marlon Davidson and LSU’s K’Lavon Chaisson, but those are two early-round talents and teams didn’t expect Thomas to pitch a shutout against those caliber of players.
There is a lot to like about Thomas for the NFL, as he is an excellent quarterback protector who is a steady producer in the ground game. Coming from a pro-style offense with three years of starting experience, Thomas could hit the ground running in the NFL. He also has seen excellent competition over his collegiate career, with postseason games on top of a challenging SEC schedule. Thomas is a special lineman when really jumped out when watching Georgia.
In pass protection, Thomas has the potential to be a starting left tackle. He has quick feet with a good build and athleticism on the edge. Thomas can play the typewriter with his feet to cut off the edge from speed rushers. Given his good hand placement and technique, Thomas is a well-developed pass protector who sustains his blocks and prevents a successful second effort from defenders. Thomas plays with good leverage and knee bend most of the time, and that allows him to hold his ground against bull rushes. Thomas also is very disciplined and steady from play to play or game to game.
Thomas is effective as a run blocker as well. He is quick to the second level and fires out of his stance. He gets into defenders quickly, showing no hesitation to get physical and tie them up. Thomas is strong to lock up defenders and sustain his blocks. He is not overwhelmingly powerful like Quenton Nelson or Brandon Scherff were in college, but Thomas has the strength to manipulate and turn defenders in the ground game to open holes for backs. He has more strength than some other tackles who went in the first round, recently including 2019 prospects like Jonah Williams or Andre Dillard, and Thomas is a better run blocker at left tackle than many college tackles who enter the NFL these days coming from spread offenses that don’t play as much of a physical pro-style offense.
There are some things that Thomas can improve on for the next level. With fast edge rushers or surprise blitzes off the edge, he can get into some trouble by bending at the waist and reaching after defenders.
Thomas looks like a future starting left tackle in the NFL, and he could end up being one of the better left tackles in the league. He is worthy of being selected as a top-10 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Player Comparison: D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Thomas reminds me of D’Bridashaw Ferguson. Ferguson (6-6, 310) was a steady pass protector and a plus run blocker during his NFL career after being the fourth-overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. I could see Thomas being a tackle comparable to Ferguson during his pro career.
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