Isaiah Thomas Scouting Report: NFL Draft Prospect Report
Defensive End, Oklahoma Sooners, #95
6’ 5” / 266 lbs
40 Time: N/A Check back after combine and pro days!
Isaiah Thomas NFL Draft Player Profile
Coming out of Memorial High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma Isaiah was rated a four-star recruit by 247Sports, Rivals, and Scout. Rivals also ranked Thomas as the #3 prospect in the state of Oklahoma. Isaiah would be named an US Army All-American and honorable mention All-State (by The Oklahoman). Thomas was also a member of the 2017 Class 5A state champion basketball team.
After redshirting his true freshman season, Isaiah would see time in nine games in 2018; totaling four tackles. During his redshirt sophomore season, Thomas would play in 11 of the Sooners 14 games. He would finish the season with seven tackles and two sacks. The 2020 season would see Isaiah play and start in all 11 games. Thomas would finish the year with 32 tackles, 8.5 sacks (a team high), and 13 tackles for loss. Isaiah would see his contributions earn him a second-team All-Big 12 selection (by coaches and media), as well as an Academic All-Big 12 second-team nod. So far this season, Thomas has 17 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles as the Sooners have started the season 6-0.
Isaiah Thomas Strengths
While Isaiah primarily plays defensive end, he shows the ability to slide inside and play defensive tackle as well. While I feel like he makes more of an impact while playing the edge, Thomas is more than serviceable on the interior. He does a nice job of taking up space and clogging holes on the inside, but then has enough pace to be a threat coming off the edge. Watching Isaiah switch back and forth throughout the game, you see is solid mix of speed and power.
Maybe my favorite part of Thomas’ game. He understands his role in the defense and is going to play it. If he gets free release and notices the read option, he holds his ground forcing the quarterback to give the running back then ball and trust his teammates to make the play. He doesn’t over pursue and consistently pushes the ball carrier back into the meat of the defensive. Thomas also does a nice job of knowing when to give up on the pass rush and, instead, get his long arms up and attempt to interfere with the quarterback’s passing lanes. Isaiah isn’t going to show up a ton in the box score because of this, but watching it on tape you see that he still makes impactful plays for the Sooner defense.
Polished Pass Rusher
I feel like most high level pass rushers in college aren’t typically fully polished pass rushers. Thomas Booker is a player that I’ve recently did a report on that comes to mind here. Booker was a player that really only had one move when it came to pass rushing. Thomas, on the other hand, shows of a variety of moves and he has consistent success with all of them. Probably the best aspect of this though is how active he is with his hands. He does a solid job of making sure that the offensive tackles aren’t able to easily get their hands on him. It was pretty refreshing to see and something that can only help his draft stock.
Isaiah Thomas Weaknesses
Open Field Tackling
This was a bit of an oddity, because I feel like if Isaiah was able to get his hands on the ball carrier that they weren’t going to get away. The problem here is that this typically had to happen in the congestion that tends to happen at the line of scrimmage. However, if Thomas has to break down and attempt to bring down a runner in space, I feel like he was left grasping at air way more than I would have liked. This was especially true, it seems, if the quarterback was relatively mobile.
Getting Off Blocks
I mentioned before that Isaiah was really active with his hands when engaging the opposing offensive lineman. This allowed him to prevent the lineman from getting their hands in position and getting a hold on Thomas. This is a big part of his game, because it seemed like any time that the offensive lineman was able to lock onto Isaiah he wasn’t really able to get off the blocks. For all the positives that he showed in other facets of his game, I would have liked to see a little more from him here.
Final Thoughts on Isaiah Thomas
Overall, Thomas is a productive player that I believe can contribute at the NFL level. I was excited when I was told I got to put this together, because I saw him flash in a few plays earlier in the season while trying to watch a little bit of Spencer Rattler. However, I have to be honest, overall I was left wanting more. Whether it was missing the open field tackles, or just not being able to finish a play when it seemed like he was right there to end it… I was always left just wanting a little bit more. Another big thing that rubbed me the wrong way was how often he WASN’T on the field. I understand rotating players, but I was left with the impression that during the most important plays of the game, he was standing on the sideline.
When will Isaiah Thomas be drafted? In the end, Thomas might have fell victim to my raised expectations, but I see Isaiah as a late second day pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Isaiah Thomas NFL Comparison: Duane Smoot of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Isaiah Thomas Scouting Report by Brandon Claburn