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2022 NFL draft scouting report: San Diego State EDGE Cameron Thomas

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San Diego State EDGE Cameron Thomas

6-foot-4
267 pounds

Yahoo Sports' 2022 NFL draft grade

5.61 — possible third- or fourth-rounder; contributor potential

TL;DR scouting report

Highly productive, high-energy edge rusher who lacks elite traits and length but profiles as a solid base edge defender

The skinny

A 2-star Rivals recruit in the Class of 2018, Thomas — and his twin brother, Zach — committed to the Aztecs. He played in the bowl game as a freshman, preserving his redshirt status, but came back in 2019 to play in 13 games (12 starts) at defensive tackle and total 49 tackles (nine TFLs), 5.5 sacks and two batted passes.

In 2020, Thomas started eight games (half at tackle, half at end) and collected 35 tackles (9.5 TFLs), four sacks and one pass defended. He was named Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year, totaling 71 tackles (20.5 TFLs), 11.5 sacks and one forced fumble in 14 starts at defensive end. Thomas played at the 2022 Senior Bowl but suffered a hamstring injury in the opening practice warmups and was sidelined the entire week.

CARSON, CA - NOVEMBER 26:  A close up of Cameron Thomas #99 of the San Diego State Aztecs helmet against the Boise State Broncos on November 26, 2021 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - NOVEMBER 26: A close up of Cameron Thomas #99 of the San Diego State Aztecs helmet against the Boise State Broncos on November 26, 2021 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)

Upside

  • Textbook edge-rusher frame and good athletic profile

  • Exceptional agility testing numbers — 6.91-second 3-cone, 4.25-second short shuttle

  • Works gaps and slants laterally well — can knife into the backfield

  • Nice initial quickness off the snap

  • Makes hustle plays from the backside routinely

  • Lived in backfield in 2021 — only Bama's Will Anderson Jr. had more pressures, per PFF

  • Played out of position on the interior 2019-2020 and acquitted himself well

  • Has played every technique up and down the line

  • Plays with head up and able to locate ball readily, even in traffic

  • Iron man — hasn't missed a game in three years, averaged 56 snaps/game in 2021

  • Excellent, consistent motor — runs hot and rarely leaves anything in the tank

Downside

  • Might be maxed out, size-wise, after packing on 40-plus pounds from high school

  • Not quite the length you're seeking at edge — 32 1/2-inch arms

  • Broad-jump number (9-foot-2) slightly disappointing

  • Take-on strength is OK but hardly dominant trait

  • Edge speed and cornering ability is merely average

  • Can lose balance — on the ground a bit too much

  • A little too quick off the snap — surprising four offsides penalties last year

  • Played inside in college but might lack power, rare quickness to thrive there in NFL

  • Wasn't asked to drop into coverage more than handful of snaps per year

  • One forced fumble, zero recoveries in three seasons

  • Fluky Senior Bowl injury caused him to miss entire week, plus NFL combine testing

  • Past back injury (2019 snowboarding fall) complicates medical evaluation

Best-suited destination

Thomas profiles as a base end in an even front, ideally one that asks its lineman to slant and shoot gaps. He might be able to slide inside as a 3-technique, something he did readily in college, but might never be a 10-sack producer at the NFL level, lacking the elite traits to do so consistently. Nor is he likely to play the same volume of snaps in the league as he did in college. But Thomas has a lot of positives on his ledger and profiles as a high-floor performer for the next several years, fueled by high effort and keen instincts.

Did you know

Thomas was snowboarding at Big Bear Mountain Resort in California over Christmas break following his freshman season when he got too much air off of a ramp and crashed hard, briefly getting knocked unconscious and suffering four broken vertebrae. Back surgery was not needed, however, and Thomas was back into football shape seven weeks later — just in time for spring ball. He hasn't missed a game since then.

“I won’t be snowboarding again while I’m still playing football,” Thomas pledged at the time.

Player comp

Sam Hubbard

Expected draft range

Rounds 3-4

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