Joining fellow co-captain Jordan Evans as NFL Combine snubs, senior safety Ahmad Thomas has been working hard through the last few months to make sure his name is heard during the 2017 NFL Draft. After a stellar junior season in which he earned all-conference honors, Thomas saw his production on the field take quite a hit in 2016. Though many experts project him to likely be on several teams’ shortlists as an undrafted free agent following the draft, the hard-hitting safety still has a shot to hear his name called in the last couple of rounds on Day 3.
The Sooners were able to pluck the 6-0, 215-pound, Thomas from the SEC and ACC recruiting hotbed of Miami, Florida. After having survived a tough upbringing in the inner city, Thomas saw action in 12 of 13 games as a true freshman before being named a starter as a sophomore. Posting 75 tackles in each of his first two seasons starting on the Sooner secondary, Thomas’s production dipped during his senior year, in which he totaled 59 tackles and zero interceptions. Named to the All-Big 12 Second Team as a junior in 2015 and an honorable mention all-conference last season, the former four-star recruit missed only one game out the 52 he played in through the past four years, the last three spent as a full-time starter on Mike Stoops’ defensive unit.
Thomas was named a co-captain as a senior in 2016 along with Baker Mayfield, Samaje Perine and defensive teammate/offseason training partner Jordan Evans, and finished his collegiate career with 223 tackles (including five for loss), four interceptions and seven pass breakups. Although his production dipped last season, Thomas was always known as a heavy hitter and played with aggressiveness and intensity. Known for being a dependable and reliable leader, Thomas and his girlfriend welcomed their daughter Skylynn into the world last September.
OU Pro Day Results
40-yard dash: 4.66 seconds
Vertical: 36.5 inches
Bench press: 15 reps
Broad jump: 118 inches
3-cone drill: 7.07 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.20 seconds
60-yard shuttle: 11.85 seconds
As most experts predicted the Miami product to be sitting on the bubble of being drafted this weekend, the most likely expectation is that he ends up on a roster as a free agent following the draft. Possible landing spots could include Cleveland, Arizona, Washington, Tampa Bay, New Orleans, Los Angeles Rams, Denver, Buffalo, Dallas, according to the Norman Transcript.
The Browns could be one to keep an eye on, with Nathaniel Cline of Cleveland.com projecting Thomas as high as the fifth round, while Lance Zierlein of NFL.com sees him as a priority free agent with some ground to make up on his counterparts in a loaded safety position this draft.
While Thomas may lack the height and downfield speed of elite pro safeties, he does possess a long, athletic frame and solid closing speed at the next level. He is great against the run and though inconsistent in the passing game at times, has displayed the ability to cover possession receivers through his four seasons in the pass-happy Big 12. Thomas’s experience and versatility and especially his hard-hitting reputation could help him land on a roster and work his way into a rotation on a team with a need for his skill set.
Thomas has the experience and success as a special teams player that will give him an advantage when trying to secure a roster spot, but he can't hang his hat on being a box safety or a cover specialist and his lack of deep speed is a concern. Thomas could find himself on the undrafted free agent list with a need to excel on special teams in limited camp reps to have a shot at making a roster. - Lance Zierlein, NFL.com