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2023 NFL Draft Diamonds Scouting Report: Drake Thomas, LB, North Carolina State

Drake Thomas is a strong-nosed downhill linebacker for North Carolina State. He looks to solidify his NFL Draft stock with great outing this season.  Hula Bowl scout Derrick Deen breaks down Thomas in this article.
Drake Thomas is a strong-nosed downhill linebacker for North Carolina State. He looks to solidify his NFL Draft stock with great outing this season. Hula Bowl scout Derrick Deen breaks down Thomas in this article.

Player Data

Name, Jersey #Drake Thomas / #32
School (Code)North Carolina State (NCST)
DOB, Class Yr02-25-2000 / Junior (4th Year)
Height, Weight5114 / 221
40 Yd Dash4.75E
Arms, Hands3000 / 0912
Position/DepthILB / Starting
Honors/Captainship2021 First Team All-ACC (League, AP, PFF, Phil Steele)2021 Phil Steele Fourth Team All-American2021 Team Bill Cowher Award2021 Team Defensive MVP2021 Defensive Captain
Season Viewed (yr)2021
Games Watchedv. Boston College (2021)v. Mississippi State (2021)v. Clemson (2021)
Scout Name / DateDerrick Deen / 09-18-2022

Per Year Stats (Most Recent First)

20223 GP/GS/ 18 TCKLs/ 2 TFL/ 4 QBH/ 1 PB
202112 GP/GS / 100 TCKLs / 13.5 TFL / 6 Sacks / 3 INT / 9 QBH / 1 PB
202010 GP/GS / 58 TCKLs / 9.5 TFL / 3 Sacks / 5 QBH / 1 PB
201912 GP / 3 GS / 34 TCKLs / 4 TFL / 2.5 Sacks / 1 INT / 2 PB

Player Summary:

A fourth year junior, early enrollee at NC State in 2019. Average size, thick and boxed core with a wide set of shoulders, long built arms, and lengthy, powerful, exceptionally built legs. Aligned in the box 614 times last season as an SLB, while also taking 59 snaps as a DE and 84 snaps in slot coverage. Does an exceptional job shutting down the inside run, playing down the line of scrimmage and keeping eyes in the backfield. Closes space and disrupts running lanes well. Does an average job disengaging blocks- has been caught up in blocks on several occasions. Does a sufficient job as an interior pass rusher, plays strong ball in the gaps and really gets penetration in his rush. His first step isn’t as sudden or explosive as you’d like. True downhill player and nose for the ball when he’s on the blitz. Can find himself overcommitting and unbalanced in the offensive backfield. Does a good job playing to his assignment in pass coverage, keeping a presence in the flats and underneath zones. Can get grabby in coverage. Can get lost in deep coverage. Heavy footed at times.

Scheme Fit:

Fits in at the next level as a two-down interior LB in a 4-3 scheme.

Fanfield.io

Power Statement

Despite a relatively shorter size, Thomas is the thick, strong-nosed downhill linebacker you want in the interior of your defense to stop the run and attack the quarterback early. Would benefit by playing lighter on his feet and expanding his tool box of block shedding moves.

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