Cam Thomas  DT  North Carolina 

TALENT BOARD

 Round 4


 

STRENGTHS

Cam has the size, athletic talent and long arms to be a dominant force as a defensive tackle in a 4-3 or as a nose tackle in a 3-4 defense.  He shows nice feet and balance and looks like the offensive coordinator will have to double team him with a guard and center on every play.  Cam has the size and the type of athleticism that songs should be made of and coaches should be drooling over.  He has the type of athletic talent and size that you look for in a player who should be considered a top ten defensive lineman in any draft.  The problem is that it takes more than size and athletic talent to play in the NFL.   

 

NEEDS TO IMPROVE

Cam is weak against the run and does not show much when pass rushing.  He doesn't play with very good leverage and shows a burst off the line only when he wants to.  His college team used Cam as a nose tackle in a 3-4 and as a defensive tackle in a 4-3, but it doesn't make a difference -- unfortunately, he doesn't dominate in either system and, with his size and athletic talent, you would expect him to.  I see nothing wrong with Cam's athletic talent and everything wrong with his work ethic.  He will not be able to learn the techniques he needs to learn and gain the strength that he needs to gain for at least three or four years and that is only if he decided to work hard at it.  If he hasn't done this by now, do you really think that he will once he gets drafted?   With his size and athletic ability, he should be considered a top ten draft pick in the same breath as Ndamukong Suh (DT Nebraska) and not one scout, GM or coach to my knowledge has suggested that he is. 

    

BOTTOM LINE

You've got to be kidding me.  I believe that for an offensive lineman, blocking Cam was like blocking maple syrup.  There is another DT (#9) on this team that got all the double teams and Cam still did not produce.  Cam is the biggest kid on the field and they would move #9 on the nose to stop the run because Maple Syrup Cam was not stout enough.  When it came to passing downs, they would put Cam on the nose to take up a double team and opponents still double teamed #9 instead.  You don't draft players on size, speed, athletic talent anymore in the first three rounds.  There is too much money involved to do that.  Cam has the talent to be a top ten pick.  He has the talent to challenge Suh as the top defensive lineman in this draft.  My guess is that Cam is not motivated to be the best and drafting him in the first three rounds will not help to motivate him all.  Maybe drafting him later in the draft will; however, there are too many good, motivated defensive tackles in this draft for me to bother drafting Cam at all.  Maybe someone can reach this kid, but for me personally, I would rather draft a kid with less athletic talent but with a better work ethic and heart than Maple Syrup Cam.  I guess he will play when he is ready.  The question is... when will that be?  Wait a second, I got it!  If I'm a scout I can just say that I don't think that Cam's work ethic maturity has caught up to his mature athletic talent and he has great "upside"... and you wonder why there are so many former GM's, scouts and coaches talking about the draft on web sites and TV instead of still being a part of the draft management team for one of the 32 NFL teams!  The draft in itself is its own business and if teams still are drafting just on talent and "potential to impact" in the first three rounds instead of talent, LTI, fitting a system and marketing potential, then that draft management team will fail.  It's not about the "potential" to be great in the first three rounds any more.  As a fan, I want bang for my buck.  I personally look for potential after the first three rounds.  Worry about "potential" after the third round unless you are talking about a QB.  Nobody should be thinking about this kid until after the first three rounds because he was not motivated to be the best defensive lineman at the college level.  Thinking you are going to draft Cam early and all of a sudden this kid will play up to his potential is a sucker bet.  Don't get me wrong -- the "potential" for that to happen is there along with Cam's potential.  If you tie yourself to that potential then be ready to take the consequences.  The truth is there are no experts analyzing the draft.  There is no credible "inside" information and every time you are right about a player, there is another player you will be totally wrong about.  I know this for a fact, but looking at film is my way of trying to be correct.  

 

Drew Boylhart  2/10