Drake Thomas, LB, North Carolina State | NFL Draft Scouting Report

Drake Thomas will likely be an undrafted free agent following the 2023 NFL Draft. What is in Thomas' scouting report that could keep teams from selecting him?

NFL Linebackers are rapidly becoming among the better all-around athletes on rosters. Your off-ball linebacker can no longer just be a downhill thumper who stuffs the run. With the proliferation of pass-catching tight ends, running backs involved in the passing game, etc., linebackers must have the skills to be stout enough to take on double teams and cover down the field.

North Carolina State’s Drake Thomas is hoping to hear his name called during the 2023 NFL Draft, but he could end up an undrafted free agent. Everything you need to know about Thomas is in his scouting report, providing an insight into where he could end up.

Drake Thomas NFL Draft Profile

  • Position: LB
  • School: North Carolina State
  • Year: Senior

Thomas played high school football at Heritage High School for coach Wallace Clark. He played middle linebacker and running back, finishing as the school’s all-time leading tackler with 393, including 203 solo stops.

MORE: FREE Mock Draft Simulator With Trades

As a collegiate freshman, Thomas started three games at middle linebacker. As a sophomore, he started all 10 games he played. He ranked 30th among ACC defenders in tackles per game with 5.8, finishing the season ranked fifth for the Wolfpack with 58 total stops.

As a junior, he was a first-team All-ACC performer and a fourth-team All-American. Thomas was NC State’s leading tackler in 2021, and he ranked fourth in the ACC. He played 763 snaps for the season, which was the second-highest total on defense. In his final collegiate season, Thomas took another step forward. It was his second consecutive 100+ tackle season. He also had 50 solo tackles, 7.5 sacks, and 23 quarterback hits.

Tony Pauline’s Scouting Report for Drake Thomas

Strengths: Tough, fiery linebacker who gets the most from his ability. Instinctive, quickly diagnoses plays, and flows to the action. Plays faster than his 40 time, displays speed moving in every direction, and makes several plays in space. Gets depth on pass drops, shows good recognition in coverage, and goes sideline to sideline. Sells out and shows a lot of suddenness in his game.

Weaknesses: Short and not a stout tackler. Lacks great pursuit speed.

Overall: Thomas was a super-productive LB who registered 100+ tackles the past two seasons and found ways to make plays behind the line of scrimmage, as well as when the ball was in the air. He comes with poor size and minimal growth potential, yet his instincts and tenacity could help him find a roster spot as an eighth linebacker/special-teams player.

Drake Thomas Combine Measurements and Results:

  • Height: 5′ 11 1/4″
  • Weight: 228 pounds
  • Arm: N/A
  • Hand: 9 3/8″
  • Bench Press: N/A
  • 40-Yard Dash: N/A

Drake Thomas Current Draft Position

According to Tony Pauline’s Big Board, Thomas received an undrafted free agent grade. This does not necessarily mean he will not be drafted. He is Pauline’s 17th-ranked middle linebacker and 291st-ranked player overall.

MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board

Thomas’ Relative Athletic Score of 6.13 is considered “good.” He didn’t work out at the combine, so all of his scores are unofficial, most notably his speed scores. He is quite undersized for the position, weighing under 230 pounds and measuring under 6’0″ tall.

Thomas will likely be an undrafted free agent and will need to stick on a team by contributing on special teams.

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