2015 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Western Kentucky CB Cam Thomas

As we delve further into the Pittsburgh Steelers offseason, our attention has begun to shift towards the draft. Like we’ve done all offseason, these reports will cover the prospects of the 2015 NFL Draft, placing an emphasis on those who could help the Steelers the most.

Breaking down a potential small school sleeper, Western Kentucky cornerback Cam Thomas.

#19 – Cam Thomas/CB Western Kentucky: 6’0/2 195

The Good

– Prototypical triangle numbers for the position with excellent length (32 1/4 inch arms)
– Fluid athlete who moves well and shows little stiffness in his turn
– Quick feet and a surprisingly strong lower body who can click and close, gets “on top” of the ball in a hurry
– Explosive nature capable of creating big impacts on tackles
– Leaper who gets full arm extension, length makes him even bigger and apt to breaking passes up, getting in sight lines of the receiver
– Asked to do a lot, comfortable in a variety of roles and coverages
– Overall productive career

The Bad

– Small, disproportionate hands (8 5/8)
– Lacks upper body strength and isn’t a consistent, reliable tackler who struggles bringing ball carriers to the ground in the open field
– Does not have tremendous short-area quickness
– Lacks long speed
– Too upright in his pedal, plays too tall
– Trusts himself too much, at times, too late to open the gate and vulnerable to getting burned, but also has trouble staying square at the LOS when receivers are on his toes
– Has trouble staying in-phase and finding the ball in man coverage
– Played only one position, LCB

Other

– 30 career starts
– 2014: 45 tackles 2 INT
– Missed two games in 2014 with a hamstring injury
– 11 career interceptions, including five in 2013
– 2013 First-Team All-Sunbelt but only an Honorable Mention in Conference USA in 2014
– Two year captain for the Hilltoppers

Tape Breakdown

This report falls on the “bite-size” snippet, similar to what we did with Texas A&M TE Cameron Clear. Unlike Clear, it isn’t for a lack of playing time, but the relatively limited tape that existed. I found three game cut ups but two of them were in poor quality – captured in a grainy 360 resolution. Makes it a little difficult to watch and even harder to show in GIFs and pictures.

From an aesthetics standpoint, not things that make for a good article. Why it could come out a bit shorter. But I hit the three game benchmark I set for each player.

His click and close is the biggest aspect of his game I’m a fan of. Strong lower body who explodes downhill.

Playing tight man coverage at the bottom of the screen, Thomas shows the ability to plant his back foot as the receiver breaks on his comeback, drive off of it, and jump the route, nearly picking it off. That’s all lower body strength.

While his tackling is an issue, that explosiveness occasionally translated into a big hit. Watch him come downhill and light up the receiver on this screen.

But in the open field when he can’t hit a stationary target, it’s an issue. Doesn’t break down to try and wrap up WR Titus Davis, choosing to hop outside instead and badly whiffing. Allows a lot of YAC.

Lacks the strength to bring the receiver down in the open field, easily falling off, and giving up six.

CamThomasWKU1

CamThomasWKU2

Ankle tackle on this receiver. Not a good idea in general, and especially not against one running a slant away from you. NFL receivers will high step that without issue.

CamThomasWKU3

Like Craig Mager, Thomas is a small-school veteran who was used in every facet of Western Kentucky’s defense. More off coverage than Mager but still had snaps near the line. Overall, he’s comfortable in man or zone and can be used on “cat” blitzes off the edge.

He earns high marks for being a two-time captain, something a team like the Steelers certainly have shown to appreciate.

Thomas is a poor man’s Kevin Johnson. Quick feet and good route recognition with some tackling issues. Johnson has superior speed, though, and plays with better technique.

The Western Kentucky product has been billed as a sleeper and I can see where that’s coming from. He has upside. Not the most intriguing late round selection but not one to overlook either.

Projection: 6th Round

Games Watched: at South Alabama (2013), vs Illinois, vs Central Michigan (Bowl)

Previous Scouting Reports

Maxx WilliamsP.J. WilliamsJavorius AllenAlvin DupreeDavid Cobb
Tyler KroftQuinten RollinsShane RayTrae WaynesBobby Richardson
Vic BeasleyLynden TrailEric RowePreston SmithNate Orchard
David JohnsonAmari CooperHau’oli KikahaJohn MillerLandon Collins
Gerod HollimanDante Fowler Jr.Rob HavensteinDerron SmithRandy Gregory
Jalen CollinsClive WalfordLorenzo MauldinIfo Ekpre-OlomuRandall Evans
Owamagbe OdighizuwaCody PrewittJacoby GlennKevin JohnsonKevin White
Jesse JamesJay AjayiHenry AndersonXavier CooperT.J. Yeldon
Steven NelsonChris HackettCameron ErvingIbraheim CampbellAlex Carter
Zack HodgesMarcus PetersBlake BellEli HaroldJeremy Langford
Devin MahinaAnthony HarrisShaq MasonJordan PhillipsTrey Flowers
Arik ArmsteadDeAndre SmelterB.J. FinneySean HickeyLa’el Collins
Clayton GeathersJarvis HarrisonLorenzo DossJosh RobinsonBrian Mihalik
Mark GlowinskiCameron ClearKyle EmanuelMarkus GoldenTyler Lockett
Mike DavisTy SambrailoDevin SmithCraig MagerJosh Harper
Kenny BellJake FisherJeremiah Poutasi

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About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • Chad

    No one named “Cam Thomas ” should be allowed in the NFL ever again, In fact, if he wants to stay in America, he should change his name. Is it too late to talk to the competition committee?

  • CuldesacBill

    If the Steelers take two CB’s in this draft, I can see them considering this guy later on, along with maybe Justin Coleman from Tennessee.

  • JohnB

    They should pick this guy up and then release the other Cam Thomas…you know… to avoid confusion

  • Matt Manzo

    I have him in the Byron Jones/Eric Rowe category. Lots of talent, but always a bit late to the ball or not quite in the best position.
    6th round sounds about right, but I could see him going higher.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    If this was the Steelers’ second CB taken, I’d be fine with that. But Steeler fans (like myself) have long grown tired of yelling at the screen for missed tackles. Watching corners rush up to within three yards of the receiver and then stutter-step like they’re trying to guess where the guy is going? It hurts my eyes.

  • Twentyfour Erenberg

    I totally agree. I mean this Cam Thomas could probably also play DE about as well as ours anyway.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    If the Steelers draft him, I’m calling him Chamomile Thomas…just so we can distinguish the two.

  • dgh57

    If drafted hopefully he is a 2016 story as I don’t think I can handle two players named Cam Thomas on the field at the same time! LOL!!

  • steelster

    Looks like cam Thomas dropped some weight.

  • pittfan

    That name is becoming synonymous with “dud”.

  • Steeler Fanatic

    The bad: his mother choosing the name “Cam” over “Chuck”

  • JAMESH

    Guy Wimper

  • Alex Kozora

    From the sounds of it, Rowe is expected to go pretty high.

  • Matt Manzo

    I know he’s gonna go higher. I just think they’re about the same type of player. I think Rowes more like a 4th/5th round talent but his speed will have him go higher.

  • Matt Manzo

    And! I forgot to say thanks for doing Cam! I was wondering about him. He had great all-star week write ups, but after watching his film he didn’t look special. He always looked a step behind or a second slower, instinctively.
    Compared to guys like Donald Celiscar and Cedric Thompson! They look like they know where the plays going before the snap. I know I’ve asked you before and they don’t have a lot of tape, and you’re super busy, but if you get a chance to look into these guys, I just wanna know if anyone else sees what I see?

  • Vinhuddle

    Inconsistent and unreliable tackler I think should be a big red flag if that’s the consensus scouting report. Maybe, maybe worth a late rd gamble.

  • Craig M

    All I know is that I just got me a 50 yard line ticket behind the Chargers bench for the Steelers game this season. And nothing can upset me about the draft, even somebody named Cam Thomas.

  • Steel PAul

    That’s just too damn funny..

  • Burgh Ball

    As a third prospect – more interested in WR Titus Davis than C.Thomas.. Davis broke A.Browns records at Central Mich…

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Cam Thomas CB is the type of guy the Seahawks draft in the 4th or 5th round and turns out to be a stud. (So of course we will pass on him.)

  • Conserv_58

    Nope, nadda, now way! I don’t care what his upside is. This team does not need another Cam Thomas that can’t tackle. He looked more like a jocky riding a horse in a couple of those videos. Those videos remind me of the days of watching Tyrone Carter and Larry Foote looking like jockys or for being dragged five yards down field before getting help to bring down a ball carrier.

  • thomas hmmmm

    Yea, I was thinking when I saw the headline that with a name of Cam Thomas he really wont be welcomed in Pittsburgh.

  • GoSteelerz

    Hhmmm… I think I like Mager better as a late round prospect…

  • LucasY59

    Damien Swann from Georgia also

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