Brandon Thomas projected as early as second round pick

Football - Brandon Thomas receives a spring award from head coach Dabo Swinney

Photo by Mark Crammer

Football - Brandon Thomas receives a spring award from head coach Dabo Swinney

An early April private workout in New Orleans is sure to cost former Tiger lineman Brandon Thomas some money this weekend.

He was regarded as a potential top-50 selection after putting together an impressive senior season then Senior Bowl – versatile as an option at tackle or guard. In early April, he tore an ACL in the last of a string of individual tryouts with NFL teams.

He had surgery on April 23 and is expected to be back on the field in early October, making a rookie season debut appear doubtful. His late in the draft game injury makes his projection as difficult as any.

CBSSports.com rates Brandon Thomas as the No. 10 offensive guard prospect, projecting a fifth round selection Saturday. CBS, in fact, doesn’t have a single Clemson prospect going in round two.

SB Nation pegs him for a late second round pick tonight to the Carolina Panthers.

Thomas has much of an idea as anybody.

“At first, we were looking at several teams that need offensive line. In my mindset, hopefully one of those teams will pick me in the second or third (round),” Thomas said in an interview with Columbia’s 560 the Team. “We don’t really know. We’ll have to see Friday and Saturday.”

He’s leaned on family through the ups and downs – this time no different.

“Anytime something like this happens, you look to family members to help you out,” Thomas said. “I’m no different. I looked to my Mom and sisters. They kind of picked me up and told me everything will be OK and keep pushing. That helped me out a lot.

“Definitely my Mom(‘s more nervous). She loves me. She wants the best for me. I’m nervous because I don’t know where I’m going to be, but she’s nervous because she doesn’t know where I’m going to be. That’s something being the tight family that I have that that’s going to come.”

Martavis Bryant, Bashaud Breeland and Tajh Boyd all hope to have their name called tonight or early Saturday. Thomas, Boyd’s blindside protector over the last two seasons, is expecting to see the same success he witnessed in college.

“Tajh is a great guy, not only as a football player, but a man,” Thomas said. “No matter where he goes in the draft he will be successful. He’s just that type of quarterback that leads your team and is there for your guys. He’s a hard worker. No matter where he goes he’ll be successful.”

Of course, on a Columbia radio station, Boyd’s legacy in regards to the in-state rivalry came up, but Thomas maintained his career remains untainted.

“We all have to leave legacy in our time in college,” he said. “This is not only him that lost all of those games. I’ve never beaten South Carolina. Those people don’t really talk about the offensive line – they talk about the quarterback. It’s not just him – we lost five-straight as a unit. I don’t think it hurt him. He had a great legacy and all of these records and was still a great quarterback.”

Thomas was also asked to compare and contrast Vic Beasley and Jadeveon Clowney – two talents he’s had to block over the last couple seasons.

“Both players have their differences,” Thomas said. “Clowney is bigger, but I honestly think Vic is more physical than he is. Maybe a little bit quicker than Clowney. I would say Clowney is faster – there’s a difference between quickness and speed. Both players have things you have to worry about.”

NFL Draft Day Two

What’s happening?: Second and third rounds.

Time: 7 p.m.

Live coverage: OrangeandWhite.com

Likely Clemson draftees: WR Martavis Bryant, DB Bashaud Breeland.

Potential Clemson draftees: OL Brandon Thomas, QB Tajh Boyd.

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