PHOTO BY KEN RUINARD
With the 2014 NFL Combine now over, and with the recent news of Jordan Gross's retirement I thought it would be a good time to look at a offensive line draft prospect that Carolina has it's eye on. It was brought to the attention of Panthers fans that the team has shown a considerable amount of interest in Clemson OT/G Brandon Thomas during the recent NFL combine.
With the state of affairs that is the offensive line and where the Panthers are drafting in the first round at 28th overall, reaching for another OT at that spot is not sound drafting. Unless there is a chain of events that allows either a Taylor Lewan or a Zack Martin to fall to Carolina it makes more sense from every perspective to look to address the offensive line in the following rounds. So with this being the most likely scenario, it makes a ton of sense for Dave Gettleman to scout players that will be able to come in and contribute on the o-line that are available past the first round.
Brandon Thomas the OT from the Clemson Tigers could get drafted by Carolina and could be plugged in to start on the offensive line at any one of the guard or tackle spots from day one. Thomas is a two time all ACC performer at tackle for Clemson and played the critical position of LT the past two seasons, protecting Tajh Boyd's blind side while helping lead Clemson to a number 7 national ranking in offense for the 2013 college football season. Thomas also is a team leader from him being selected as a permanent team captain this past season.
Here are some notes I found about Brandon Thomas:
Possessed outstanding footwork as Clemson's best offensive lineman ... saw a lot of action at both guard and tackle during his career, but became the starting left tackle in 2012 ... had 98 knockdowns in 2,765 snaps over 49 games (36 starts) in his career ... two-time All-ACC selection (media, coaches) ... two-time ACC Academic Honor Roll member.
Here are some of his measurable's and notes from the NFL combine.
Per: Kerry Capps
Watch this video of Brandon Thomas from the 2014 Orange Bowl.
Brandon Thomas is number 63 playing left tackle.
Do the Panthers need an infusion of talent on the offensive line with Jordan Gross retiring and Byron Bell flailing, ABSOLUTELY. Face it Carolina needs that help now and taking a player with Thomas's capabilities to start day one at either at right tackle, left tackle, or guard seems to be a Gettleman move. A player that has been coached up and will not need as much time to acclimate to the pros and contribute early. If the Panthers are as high on Thomas that was leaked out, then I could see them selecting him as early as the second round. Somewhat in the similar fashion they jumped on Kawann Short last year with their second round selection.