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NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: QB Zac Thomas

  • The Draft Network
  • February 8, 2021
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PROSPECT SUMMARY – ZAC THOMAS

A record-setting quarterback during his time with the Mountaineers, Zac Thomas is smart and accurate. Knowing where to go with the ball has been his forte, as he’s decisive and accurate when protected. An off-script creator, he’s quick to look for small creases to gain yards with his legs, but he also can reset his eyes to throw the ball as well. Primarily operating in a shotgun-based offense, he has comfort with attacking the short-to-intermediate areas of the field with quick game concepts and run-pass options. With below-average arm strength, he throws anticipatory passes to spots that help overcompensate for that. Because of his arm strength limitations, Thomas will need lots of help from exterior variables in order to reach his potential. He’s a practice squad candidate, but may flourish in an outside league first prior to getting an NFL opportunity of some sort.

Ideal Role: Developmental No. 3 QB that will need to spend multiple years on the practice squad or multiple years in an exterior league.

Scheme Fit: West Coast or Erhardt-Perkins offensive system—quick rhythm based throws with periodic deep shots down the field.

FILM EVALUATION

Written by Jordan Reid

Games watched: Louisiana-Lafayette (2020), Troy (2020), Coastal Carolina (2020), Georgia Southern (2020), North Texas (2020)

Best Game Studied: Troy (2020)

Worst Game Studied: Louisiana-Lafayette (2020)

Accuracy: During every season of his career, Thomas’ accuracy has slowly increased, but stayed in the same neighborhood of the low 60s. There are times where he shows solid accuracy, placing the ball in proper places, and there are some glimpses of Thomas making life hard on his targets to where it’s challenging for them to gain yards after the catch.

Decision Making: Overall, Thomas was decisive and understood where to go with the football. He showed a full understanding of the system and flourished in it during his career. Thomas made quick decisions during quick-game passes. App State often mixed in lots of play-action passes that involved elongated mesh fakes to where he performed lots of object reads (reading one defender). This helped his overall approach and to get the ball out extremely quickly.

Poise: Thomas hardly ever showed moments of being completely timid in the pocket. He had lots of moments where he stared down the teeth of the defense and was able to deliver with pressure bearing down on him. While there are moments where he had questionable throws (2020 Coastal Carolina), the good outweighed the bad when it came to throwing with pressure in his face. 

Progressions: The Mountaineers' offense consisted mostly of half-field reads. Cutting off half of the field eliminated the time that he was required to stand in the pocket. Getting the ball out quickly for him was a bonus considering his arm strength limitations. Thomas seemed to be much more confident when he was afforded opportunities to read half of the field. The scheme also consisted of lots of manipulation with running backs to create opportunities for tight ends over the middle of the field.

Release: Thomas has an early 3/4 release that consists of him stabbing his back foot in the ground.  The stabbing of his back foot has been a hindrance to unlocking his hips, which is why there are lots of glimpses of his passes lacking velocity. Unlocking his hips and using his torso more aggressively could help him put more juice on the ball.

Pocket Manipulation: A crafty runner overall, Thomas looks for small creases in the pocket to escape through prior to resetting his eyes to targets down the field. Sometimes, he can seek to do too much when trying to break contain and escape, but he gives the offense a chance to gain positive yardage with his efforts to create inside and outside of the pocket. 

Arm Strength: When afforded time, Thomas has enough strength to push the ball down the field on post and go routes. Asking him to throw the ball more than 45-50 yards down the field is asking a bit much of him, as his game is predicated upon being efficient in the underneath areas. Thomas also doesn’t have many far hash throws. Working the boundary (short side of the field) often, he stole yards with quick combinations in that area. 

Mobility: Thomas has enough wiggle to get out of harm’s way. His ability to consistently bob and weave his way through the pocket is consistent. He doesn’t have the ability to make defenders miss in space to create extra opportunities for himself, but he can take advantage of the yards that are presented to him.

Leadership: Team captain and the engineer of the offense, he was looked upon highly by the coaching staff and his teammates. Labeled as a leader by many, he has lots of respect from many in the program, which is a clear sign of his leadership qualities. 

Mechanics: The biggest adjustment that Thomas will need to make is with his lower half, as he has a habit of his feet misaligning with his release. His malfunctioned lowered half leads to him releasing the ball prematurely at the top of his release and unable to unlock his hips in order to get extra velocity behind his throws when needed in all directions and areas.

SCOUT GRADES

TDN Consensus: To Be Determined

Jordan Reid: 65/100

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