Coming off strong Senior Bowl, Brandon Thomas ready for NFL audition's 2nd stage

NFL.com scouting report notes that Thomas 'held his own against Jadeveon Clowney without help'

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd fades back to pass near left tackle Brandon Thomas during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium in Clemson.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd fades back to pass near left tackle Brandon Thomas during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium in Clemson.

Brandon Thomas arrived in Indianapolis on Wednesday prepared to take the second step in a three-stage audition that hopefully will eventually land him a starting job in the NFL.

The 6-3, 316-pound former Clemson standout saw his draft stock soar after his week of practice with the Atlanta Falcons' coaching staff at the Senior Bowl last month, and is now being widely projected as a second-round pick in the upcoming NFL draft.

Thomas is among the first wave of players who checked in at the NFL's Scouting Combine on Wednesday, and he's scheduled for his formal weigh-in and medical exam later today. His Friday will be filled with interviews and psychological testing, as well as the first physical test - the bench press.

On Saturday, he'll be on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium, performing speed, agility and position-specific drills.

Thomas will have another pre-draft opportunity to impress scouts when Clemson holds its own Pro Day later this spring.

Thomas comes into the Combine ranked No. 7 among tackles by CBSSports.com, and among the second tier of what is considered to be a deep and athletic class of offensive linemen.

Projected first-round picks among tackles include Texas A&M's Jake Matthews, Michigan's Taylor Lewan, Alabama's Cyrus Kouandijo and Notre Dame's Zack Martin. Players in the second-to-third round group include Thomas, Tennessee's Antonio Richardson, Virginia's Morgan Moses, Ohio State's Jack Mewhort, and Nevada's Joel Bitonio.

"If you're not going to jump on a tackle in the first round, you can get into the second round, or even later in the second round," said NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock.

Thomas, a two-time All-ACC selection, is being looking at by some teams as a guard, but Mayock says he expects Thomas to remain at tackle.

In his scouting report on NFL.com, Thomas is described as having "good size with very long arms and big hands...quick out of his stance...a knee bender with good balance and body control and a solid base. Places his hands inside and can pop and recoil. Strong-handed puncher with good grip strength once he latches on."

The scouting report notes that Thomas "held his own against Jadeveon Clowney without help" and is "light on his feet to step to the second-level and pull."

Thomas' main weakness, according to the scouting report, is a missing power element: "He's not a road-grading mauler...susceptible to bull rush when he sets tall...He's still learning to prepare like a pro."

Among teams expected to take an offensive tackle with one of their first three picks are the Houston Texans, the Arizona Cardinals, the Miami Dolphins, the Oakland Raiders, the St. Louis Rams, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Baltimore Ravens, and the New Orleans Saints.

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