Chase Thomas Scouting Report

February 16th, 2013

Thomas fits best as a 3-4 OLB but has questionable athleticism


QB / RB / FB / WR / TE / OT / OG / OC / DT / DE / OLB / ILB / CB / SAF
Prospect: Chase Thomas, OLB, Stanford
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 241 lbs
Grade: 6.35 (Grading Scale)

Scouting Report:

Athleticism:
+Has a decent initial burst off the snap
+Functional power with strong shoulders and heavy hands
-Stiff ankles and knees, cannot change direction quickly in space
-Lacks good speed and is not quick to get to top speed, has slow foot repetition
-Top heavy when he runs, does not exhibit strong balance or coordination. Likes to leverage off blockers to change direction
-Has short arms (31.3”) for his height, which matters in pass coverage and getting off blocks

Run Defense:
+Does a decent job of setting the edge when lined up along the line
+Has some power behind his pads and drives legs through tackle
+Has excellent awareness of backside containment and embraces the responsibility
+Will take on initial block and try to push into the hole
-Tends to get himself upright just before the hit and often strikes higher than he should
-Lacks closing burst and has no chase gear
-Struggles to sift thru trash or redirect in traffic
-Will get caught flat-footed in the hole and forced to lunge for arm tackles

Coverage:
+Better in man coverage than zone
+Has a good feel for wheels, flares, and screens
-Poor ball awareness, doesn’t locate the ball well or read the receiver cues
-Cannot keep up with most backs or tight ends beyond about 10 yards
-Has a tendency to get grabby in man coverage
-His stiffness shows in zone coverage, not fluid in moving to receiver or transitioning between areas

Pass Rush/Blitz:
+Likes to line up on the line and attack from either side, essentially a rush end
+Has a decent arsenal of moves, including a good push/pull move and inside spin
+Has good timing and spatial awareness on twists and delay blitzes
+Can get into the pads of the blocker and bullrush, especially vs. tight ends and with a running start

Intelligence/Effort:
+High motor pass rusher, goes to the whistle on every snap when attacking the QB
+Plays with solid awareness moving forward, anticipates and reads plays quickly
+Durable, played every game all four years after starting 8 games as a freshman
+Semifinalist for IMPACT award as a senior
-Doesn’t always look enthused about playing the run, conserves energy when the play is away from him
+No character flags or arrests

Overview: Chase Thomas is a player that fans and old-school coaches are going to like a lot more than scouts and progressive NFL minds will. He is powerful when rushing off the edge and has more advanced pass rush moves than most of this draft class, plus he exudes toughness. Thomas put up decent production for four years at Stanford.
The problem is that he is very athletically limited. He is built with ideal size to play 4-3 middle linebacker, but he sorely lacks the range, quickness and speed to play there. He is at his best rushing the passer from what will be a strong side 3-4 OLB position in the NFL. Again, his relative stiffness and lack of speed and agility will limit him to a situational role even though he has solid instincts and good power for his size. Teams like the Patriots or 49ers that value intelligence, effort, and special teams should find Thomas a value pick in the 4th or 5th round. —Jeff Risdon

Scouting Notes:

Notre Dame vs. Stanford
-primarily lined up as stand-up rush end in 7 technique from either side, some 9 and over the slot as well
-lines up over flexed TE, Niklas turns him outside and allows inside cut
-twists inside on blitz, runs into back of DT and loses momentum which allows an easy escape
-dodges Niklas chip and disrupts pass
-uses a well-conceived push/pull move to yank TE away and nearly get a safety, forces a throwaway from the end zone
-holds in shallow zone coverage, swoops in and recovers fumble off sack in end zone
-fails to get enough depth in zone drop, ball completed over his outstretched leap along sideline
-gets his shoulders turned and pushed outside by Eifert while rushing from Wide 9
-shows dogged effort by shedding block and chasing down scrambling QB across the formation

UCLA vs. Stanford
-tries to tackle Franklin high and Franklin runs right through it
-plays outside technique man cover on Fauria in red zone, get away with PI going over the top to break up pass
-holds the left edge nicely and forces runner into the scrum for no gain
-lined up wide 9, uses quick inside spin to get sack
-Franklin catches him flat footed on the side of the hole and stutter steps past Thomas for a big gain
-gets walled off pushing too far upfield and Franklin cuts just inside him for a TD run

Senior Bowl practice notes:
These are direct quotes from my sideline and end zone view notes
-looks as if he’s going to fall forward while running at full speed
-good bull rush blasts Gillislee away
-quite obviously the slowest afoot of any backer here
-caught flat-footed by Rivera, who beats him by 15 yards down the field for an easy TD catch on strong throw by Manuel
-tries bull rush on M. Williams, gets stood straight up. Williams finishes him off when Thomas spins upfield
-patient off edge, darts inside half-assed block by Rivera to meet S. Taylor at line for no gain

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