Last time we checked out a versatile defender in Genard Avery. Today I’m highlighting another versatile, underrated defender, Chad Thomas.
Thomas is a 280 pound, 6’5” defensive lineman out of Miami that plays inside and out. He reminds me a bit of Michael Johnson back when he was still athletic.
Primarily a base defensive end that can slide inside, exactly what the Bengals need.
Though he’s not much of an edge bender (otherwise he’d be a 1st round prospect) he’s active and effective on the edge. If he gets a clean start and a head of steam he can blow past defenders with speed even without being able to bend.
He uses his hands well and has at least 2 refined moved.
Although he can be late off the snap he has the explosion you’re looking for when he knows its a passing down. He does a great job of fighting through blocks and splitting double teams with speed and quickness when he’s lined up inside.
He’s very disruptive against the run as you can see in his highlight video. He’s perfect for a 1 gap penetrating scheme. He doesn’t hold his ground and can sometimes get washed out but he’s usually looking to shed the block and get in the backfield.
I think Chad Thomas is a perfect fit to replace the aging Michael Johnson. He can come in right away and take base DE snaps and scoot inside for obvious passing downs.
He’s also a good edge rusher but not as good as Carl Lawson or Carlos Dunlap. With his size and athleticism he could develop into a long term high end contributor on this defense, though maybe not a starting nickel DE.
I can’t believe I haven’t heard more about this guy. I’d take him as high as the early 3rd and feel great about it.