Ambry Thomas NFL Draft Overview
Weight: 191 pounds
Ambry Thomas 2021 NFL Draft Profile
A player’s decision to opt-out of the 2020 college season due to the Covid-19 pandemic shouldn’t be criticized. However, in some cases for prospects who are lacking tape for pro scouts to grade, the circumstances are unfortunate. Ambry Thomas was a solid starter for one year at Michigan. A consensus 4-star recruit out of high school, Thomas always had the talent and athletic ability. Still, another season of progression in college would have helped his draft stock. Thomas’s size and lack of experience are already big question marks and he only projects as a nickel cornerback at the pro level. A position he didn’t play in college.
The cornerback attended Martin Luther King High School in Detroit, Michigan. Thomas grew up in Detroit as a two-way player, taking snaps at wide receiver and cornerback. He reportedly received offers from close to 40 top college programs, including Florida, Miami, Ohio State among others. The defensive back committed to the University of Michigan, enrolling in 2017.
Thomas spent the first two seasons at Michigan as a backup cornerback. He only recorded 16 total tackles as a freshman and sophomore but did make one interception. Due to an illness, many thought Thomas would have to sit out the 2019 season. He was diagnosed with colitis prior to the season but made a recovery in time to play all 13 games as a starter. He recorded three interceptions as a junior before opting out of the 2020 season and is now entering the 2021 NFL Draft.
- Showed good speed at Michigan – both to keep up with receivers, and in recovery;
- Held up well in press coverage – plays physical in press-heavy Michigan scheme;
- Finds the football – gets his head around with decent ball skills to make plays;
- Strong tackler;
- Experienced on special teams – key to earning a roster spot.
- Inexperienced – one-year starter;
- Quite a lean build as a junior – physical receivers can out-muscle him to the ball;
- Lacks burst to his breaks, hesitates;
- Not a lot of playing time in zone coverage;
- Wasn’t tested in college – only faced 57 targets his entire college career per PFF
NFL Comparison: Sean Murphy-Bunting
Teams With Need at Position: Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers.
Projection: Day 3 Pick
Bottom Line on Ambry Thomas
As with most mid-round graded cornerbacks, where Thomas is selected will come down to individual team scouting. Most had his pro comparison, Sean Murphy-Bunting, going in the third round at the earliest but Tampa Bay valued his skillset. Thomas has speed, showcased good ball skills as a starter, and is a willing contributor in the run game. Teams will value the traits and the stats Thomas put up on a solid Michigan defense in 2019.
The former Michigan Wolverine displayed solid technique and his speed holds up on the outside but he will likely find a home in the slot at the next level unless he bulks up a little. He needs to add some muscle to be able to defend the bigger and more physical receivers in the NFL. There is a lack of burst to break on the ball. He could struggle to defend technical route runners on the outside which will only show up more at the pro level.
However, it’s easy to forget Thomas was only a one-year starter. He’s projected by most as a slot corner, but if he bulks up and is given a chance to play on the outside, perhaps more reps and experience playing the position could lead to improvement. Thomas showcased good athleticism and technique on the reps he did have in college. The three interceptions in 2019 also stand out as someone who has a good feel for where the ball is and above-average awareness. He would benefit from a full off-season of pro camps.
Embed from Getty Images