STRENGTHS - An under-rated athlete, Thomas has the skills to produce rushing the passer, chasing down ball carriers and in pass coverage. Aggressive rushing the passer and with a variety of pass rush moves, Thomas has consistently displayed the ability to defeat the OT to pressure the QB. Once he defeats pass blocker he has an explosive closing burst to the QB. Naturally instinctive and technically sound, Thomas does an excellent job of carrying out his responsibility on every play. He does not get fooled by miss-direction/trick plays. On running plays away he consistently makes sure the play is going away and then crashes down the line to track down the play in pursuit. He consistently maintains outside contain responsibility on outside runs to his side of the field, is able to defeat blocker and makes tackle or forces play back inside so teammates can make the play. Unlike many productive pass rushers, Thomas is consistently productive playing off the ball in pass coverage.
WEAKNESSES - The only real knocks on Thomas are that he lacks premier first step explosiveness to be an elite speed rusher and is not a top level athlete. He will likely be downgraded by some teams because his lack of great athleticism and Combine testing numbers will concern them.
SUMMARY - When I was evaluating Andrew Luck in 2011, Chase Thomas constantly jumped off the film when the Stanford defense was on the field and his play has only gotten better this season. While not the 265 pound OLB that has become popular in many 34 defenses, Thomas is more than strong enough to be a force against run blocks and productive as a "bull rusher." His consistent ability to play with great intensity and aggressiveness on every snap enables him to constantly fight through blockers to make plays all over the field. Overall, I doubt that Thomas is going to be drafted as highly as I have him rated, but I have little doubt that he will become a highly productive starting outside linebacker in a 34 scheme. He reminds me of a more athletic version of the Ravens Paul Kruger and I believe he will be a better player than him. In addition, with his playing mentality he will also likely make an immediate impact playing on special teams.