Dorman product Brandon Thomas ran through some basic drills during Clemson’s NFL Pro Day on Thursday, but mostly preferred to let his outstanding performances at the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine continue to permeate in the minds of pro personnel.
The 6-foot-3, 317-pound two-time All-ACC offensive tackle tied for fifth among offensive linemen at last month’s combine with both 35 bench-press reps at 225 pounds and a 29-inch vertical jump. His 5.09 40-time ranked 10th. He was already a solid draft prospect simply from his play on the field with the Tigers, but he’s continually improved his stock since the end of the season into becoming a high-round possibility.
NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock was in attendance Thursday at Clemson’s indoor facility and he’s become increasingly impressed with Thomas, who had already departed Thursday prior to the post-workout media availability.
“I think he’s a solid second-round pick because his tape is good, his senior bowl week was excellent, his combine was good and his pro day,” Mayock said. “He checks off all the boxes. Some people think he can play tackle (in the NFL) and I think he could, but I think his best home will be at guard and I think he’s going to start Day 1 as a left guard and has a chance down the road to be a Pro Bowl guard.
“I think going into the season he wasn’t rated quite as highly as that, but the more tape people watched they realized he was a quality guard or tackle and everything he’s done since the end of the season has just helped him.”
GETTING IT DONE
Clemson 300-pound guard Tyler Shatley made up for his lack of an invitation to the NFL Combine with a spectacular performance that included 40 bench-press reps at 225 pounds, which was only two shy of the high at the combine turned in by North Carolina’s Russ Bodine. Shatley also posted a vertical jump of 30.5 inches, which was higher than both tailback Rod McDowell and linebacker Spencer Shuey.
“Not everybody gets an invite to the combine and a lot of guys that didn’t will make it to the NFL,” Shatley said. “But I definitely did have something to prove and it added a little fuel to the fire.”
LIFE IN THE BIG CITY
Receiver Sammy Watkins said he will attend the May draft in person and bring along his parents. Only the top prospects are invited to attend.
“I’ll definitely go to New York. I think it will be an honor to go up there. You only get this once in your lifetime and it’s not all about me, I’ll take my parents to experience that.”
Mayock acknowledged he usually shies away from taking receivers at the high end of the first round, but Watkins is the rare kind of talent that alters his thought process.
“He’s powerful, he’s a world-class sprinter and he catches the ball flawlessly. I think what separates him, though, is his run after the catch and his toughness. I rarely see receivers with his toughness.
“I think he’s a top-five talent, whether or not he gets picked there will depend on some things he can’t control, like where those three quarterbacks go (Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel).”