Thomas Booker Scouting Report: Thomas Booker NFL Draft Prospect Report
Defensive End, Stanford Cardinals #4
Thomas Booker Measurements
6′ 4″ / 309 lbs
Thomas Booker Draft Prospect Player Profile
Thomas Booker was a four-star recruit coming out of high school and was ranked as a top 25 defensive end recruit by both Rivals and ESPN. He was a three sport athlete who also played basketball and was on the track team, which he captained. Not only did he excel on the field, but he performed in the classroom as well. Booker graduated high school with a 95.17 academic average. He has stated that he one day wants to be a top executive at a cutting-edge technology company. Apparently the athletic gene runs deep within his family, as his dad played football at Wisconsin, sister played tennis at Princeton, cousin played lacrosse at Brown, and uncle played football at St. Francis.
Thomas Booker Strengths
Holds Up Well vs Run
In case you glossed over it at the top, Thomas Booker is a BIG man coming in at 6’4” and over 300 lbs. He does a good job of using that size to clog up space on the offensive line and take away running lanes. It isn’t very often that you see him getting pushed backwards when in a one-on-one matchup with an offensive lineman.
This should be a given considering that Booker got into one of the top academic universities in the country. When you watch him play, you can see that he understands what his role is within the defensive scheme. He’s not trying to make a play every down, over pursuing and getting himself out of position. You can consistently see him turning the ball carrier back inside to his pursuing teammates. He also stops his rush to throw his hands up and attempt to disrupt a pass when he knows that he isn’t going to get to the quarterback.
Booker isn’t just stuck on the outside, he has the ability to play inside as a defensive tackle. This could become extremely important for Thomas, as I believe that his skill set is probably better suited for a defensive tackle position at the professional level. Regardless of whether teams view him as a defensive end that can swing inside to tackle, or vice versa, it’s to his benefit be able to do both.
Thomas Booker Weaknesses
Slow First Step
If there’s one thing I like to see in a defensive lineman, regardless of what scheme they play in, it’s a quick first step at the snap. If you can beat the offensive lineman to the point of attack, you can affect the outcome of the play without necessarily being the one that makes the tackle. Sadly, you don’t see that with Booker. It’s not like he’s the last one up after the snap, but when you look at some of the elite pass rushers in the NFL (like a Von Miller or a Myles Garrett), he just simply doesn’t compare.
One Trick Pony
I’ve mentioned it before, Booker is a big guy. Because of this, it makes sense for him to try and use that size and bull rush the offensive lineman. However, it seems like that the only move he has in his arsenal. Sure, every now and then you’d see the occasional half-hearted spin move or a swim move, but it wasn’t ever really effective. Instead it seemed like all he really wanted to do was just directly engage the offensive lineman and see who was stronger. In the end, it ends up playing into the final weakness I see in Booker.
Doesn’t Get Off Blocks
This could easily be a part of Stanford’s defensive scheme. As I mentioned previously, Booker is a smart player that knows his role within this system and does it well. So this very well could simply be him playing the role of clogging up gaps and taking up space. Even so, you would think at some point you would see flashes of greatness. Ones of him being able to blow through pass blockers, but you just don’t. It seems like once an offensive lineman was able to get a hold of Booker, it was over. At this point, you would typically see him give up on the pass rush and look to knock down passes instead.
Final Thoughts on Thomas Booker
Do I think Thomas Booker is going to be an elite player at the NFL level? No, he’s nowhere near the level of a Kayvon Thibodeaux. Do I think that he can find a spot on a team’s roster and provide quality depth along the line? Of course, he’s got the size and strength that you would expect and need from an NFL defensive lineman. I personally believe that he’ll be a better fit as a defensive tackle. He could also be a 3-4 defensive end at the next level rather than a traditional edge.
The ability to fill either role is only going to help his cause. I see him having far more of an impact against the running game rather than against the passing game though. Because of this, he’s going to be more of a rotational role player, especially early on in his career. If he develops a few secondary pass rushing moves I could see him possibly developing into a serviceable starter down the road. As for the 2022 NFL Draft, I would see him as an early day 3 pick… so 4th or 5th round.
Thomas Booker Draft Prospect Report / Thomas Booker Scouting Report by Brandon Claburn