40 time: 4.80
Overview: Emerged as an All-American and one of the dominant pass rushers in college football, entering the draft after his junior season with the Aztecs on the heels of a staggering 20.5 tackles for loss, including 10.5 sacks, in 2021.
Skinny and light-pegged at 6-5, 235 pounds, Thomas followed his older brother to San Diego State. He was first-team All-Mountain West as a freshman defensive tackle. Moved to defensive end four games into his sophomore season. Thomas became the first Aztecs' defensive linemen in school history to be named a First Team All-MWC pick in 2021 totaling 71 tackles.
Positives: Well-built with broad shoulders, long arms and a tapered midsection. Retained his quickness despite adding roughly 35 pounds in college. Good initial quickness to challenge tackles on his speed rush, combining very good snap anticipation. Corners smoothly for a big man, showing good flexibility throughout his core to dip and rip around the edge. Surprisingly agile, showing good lateral quickness and body contortion to make himself skinny to squeeze through gaps on twists and stunts. Really coordinates his upper and lower body well. Impressive hand usage to slice his way through the hands of would-be blockers. Strong hand chops with good power, including as a bull rusher. Can walk the blocker deep into the pocket and has the length and strength for the rip down sack.
Negatives: Feasted against lesser competition and was aided by aggressive play-calling with frequent blitzing, twists and stunts. Coordinator moved Thomas to find optimum matchups, and he's not capable of playing multiple positions in the NFL. Quick off the ball but isn't truly explosive, lacking the booster button to consistently beat pro offensive tackles on just his speed rush. Lacks explosiveness to separate the ball from the ball carrier, producing just one forced fumble in 36 games. Quick and agile in a short area and shows just average speed. Has a tendency to stand upright at the snap and will quickly be pushed aside without better leverage technique.
Pro Comp: Sam Hubbard, Cincinnati Bengals - Better football player than athlete, Hubbard slipped to the third round of the 2018 draft because of disappointing workouts following a celebrated career at Ohio State. It would be a mistake to let Thomas slide, who projects as a quality starter early in his NFL career.