Chase Thomas   LB   Stanford  

TALENT BOARD ROUND  1

 

STRENGTHS

Chase has the size, strength and straight line speed to be an outstanding linebacker for the team that drafts him. He has very mature pass rushing techniques and shows leadership skills through his play on the field. He is an excellent tackler, using very good form which should help prevent injuries at the next level.  Chase is stout against the run and although he lacks the change of direction skills going towards the QB for a sack, he is very adept at flipping his hips in coverage on passing downs.  You cannot throw a screen to Chase's side of the field when he is playing OLB in a 3-4 defense.  Chase will impact at the linebacker position in any style of defense, but his impact seems to be as an OLB in a 3-4 defense.  In this defense, he can be used like Clay Mathews because of his mature pass rushing skills, instincts, football intelligence and the ability to shut down the run on the line of scrimmage.  The problem is that Chase is also a very good cover linebacker and could easily play as a OLB in a 4-3 defense. Chase will be a terrific linebacker in a 4-3 defense, but he will be a dominating OLB in a 3-4 defense, close to the line of scrimmage.  I call him Chase (Do It) Thomas because all the coach has to say to Chase is, "We need a play, so Chase just go out there and do it," and he will.   

 

CONCERNS

I have seen Chase play in a 3-4 defense as an OLB and also in a 4-3 defense as an OLB.  He is a quality football player, but most will feel he fits better in a 3-4, which could affect his draft status and where he gets selected. His change of direction skills going forward to make sacks are not the best and this makes him more of a disrupter at the next level.  However, once Chase gets stronger, this will not be an issue.  The truth is I'm nit picking.  As far as I'm concerned, there really is nothing about this kid on film that I don't like.   

 

BOTTOM LINE

If you need a linebacker, I suggest you draft Chase.  He will be an impact player for you and if he is used in the same way Clay Mathews was used in his first year, guess what?  You have an impact football player for your defense.  He is the type of player you can build your defense around.  Chase has the ability in every game to shut down the run as well as stop sweeps and screens to his side of the field.  That means for 16 games, any team that runs at him, runs a sweep to his side or tries to run a screen play will be shut down. Add to that his mature pass rushing techniques and you tell me, wouldn't you want to draft a player that can do all of that?  Chase is a quality football player and a player who will be an impact football player.  Those are the facts as I see them on film

 

Drew "The B.S. Detector" Boylhart

Dec/2012