Who is the 6-foot-1 246 pound Stacy Thomas?
Thomas is a Miami, Florida native who was a defensive end coming out of high school, but at 225 pounds he was converted to linebacker. His size projects well for an inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense, and he has a reputation both as a run-defender and for pass coverage. The first category is especially important for the Rams, who had problems defending the run last year. Thomas also has the advantage of having faced a pro-style offense in practice every week, led by 2016 Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Lamar Jackson, a potential first round pick. Another selling point for Thomas as far as the Los Angeles Rams are concerned, is that there is a reasonably good chance he will still be available in the middle to lower rounds. For a team that needs linebacking help and doesn't have a pick before the third round, that is of concern.
Stacy Thomas Highlights
Thomas probably played better the 2016 opposed to last season, grading out as the second best incompletion rate in the country at 16.7 percent of the passes thrown in his direction, and was number eight with a 12.5 percent run-stop percentage. At 6'1” and 246 pounds, he has some size at inside linebacker, something that was lacking for the Rams last season. He has experience in a 3-4 defense, albeit a somewhat unconventional one that was very aggressive in 2016. Thomas had a reputation for stepping up in big games and for leadership on the field, all positives. As mentioned above, practicing against one of the best quarterbacks in the country in a pro-style offense on a weekly basis is certainly a plus.
His tacking left a lot to be desired at times, and he missed a fair amount of tackles according to some scouting reports, which is a concern. While it can't be said that Thomas necessarily had a lot of "off the field" issues, he was suspended at least once [against Kent State] "for violating team rules," which can mean almost anything. I'm sure the Rams will do their due diligence to investigate if there is going to be an issue emmensly moving forward. His combine numbers, while OK, don't exactly scream future All-Pro. A pedestrian 40-yard dash time of 4.76 and 18 reps in the bench press doesn't disqualify Thomas, but neither do they put him at the top of the list.
Is he a fit for Rams?
Thomas isn't the athlete that Malik Jefferson is, nor did he have the college production of a Josey Jewell, but there is a lot to like about him. Wade Phillips has a way of taking finding what players do well and putting them in a position to do it. Yes, I can see Thomas playing a role with the Rams, though he may not start right away. Or given the fact that as things stand right now, the ILB positions are pretty much wide-open, maybe he will. He's worth a shot in the lower rounds if he is still there, in my opinion.
Vontaze Burflict, Cincinnati Bengals