Brandon Thomas – Offensive Line – Clemson
Size – 6032 – 317 – 5.09
Strong Points – Three-year starter, has played both guard and tackle, long arms, run block, block the bull rush, get to the second level, good knee bender
Weak Points – Height for tackle, can have trouble with wide speed and counter moves in pass protection
Summation - Thomas is a fifth-year senior and a three-year starter for the Tigers. In 2011 he started games both at left guard and left tackle. In 2012 and 2013, he played strictly left tackle and has improved with experience.
At 6032, Thomas possesses ideal height for a tackle, but he makes up for it with his long arms (34.75”). He has good speed and straight-line quickness but his change of direction is adequate. This was evident at the combine, where he ran an 5.09 in the 40, but his three-cone and 20 shuttle times were average-to-poor (8.13, 4.83). He has strength, power, and explosiveness, but his hip tightness slows his change of direction and recovery.
I see his best fit as a run blocker. He comes off the ball quickly and is powerful on contact. He is able to generate movement with his run blocks and shows he can get to the second level and be somewhat effective. He has the strength and power to turn and seal off defenders in the run game.
In pass protection, he is best versus a bull rush. He can bend his knees and anchor. He can struggle some with wide, outside speed as he cannot consistently set wide to stop wide speed. I have also seen him give up some pressures to countermoves to the inside. This happens because his lateral quickness to the outside and recovery is just above average. He has a strong punch and uses his hands well. I have seen him “jolt” opponents with his punch.
Thomas is best suited to play inside at guard. It will take a little time for him to adjust, but I see him as a winning left guard in the league. If he doesn’t start as a rookie, he will be a valuable backup as he can also play tackle. He should get drafted somewhere between the middle of the second to the beginning of the third round.
Grade - A 6.6