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Arizona Cardinals select Cameron Thomas in third round

Boise State v San Diego State Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images

The Arizona Cardinals have selected San Diego State defensive end Cameron Thomas with the 87th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

From Dane Brugler

SUMMARY: A three-year starter at San Diego State, Thomas lined up inside, outside and over the offensive tackle in defensive coordinator Kurt Mattix’s 3-3-5 base scheme. One of the most productive defenders in college football in 2021, his 20.5 tackles for loss ranked No. 3 in the FBS (behind only Will Anderson and Devin Lloyd), and his 71 tackles ranked No. 2 among all FBS defensive linemen. Thomas played a high volume of snaps on tape and showed the consistent effort to be disruptive in the backfield or routinely make tackles away from the line of scrimmage. Although he didn’t stay blocked for long in college, he has only average length and burst, and his win rate will drop vs. NFL-level blockers. Overall, Thomas is a tight, face-up rusher with inconsistent pad level, but he is a hard-charger with the cranked motor and physical hands to wear down blockers and find the football. He projects as a 4-3 defensive end with three-down potential.


In a perfect world, Thomas adds mass and muscle to develop into a starting 3-4 defensive end with interior rush value in nickel packages. He currently carries a scheme-versatile label, but is more of a base 4-3 end with average play strength and a lack of explosiveness to create fear as an edge rusher. The splashy run-stopping data comes via equal parts scheme and effort but might not be a true indicator of what to expect in the pros. A bigger, brawnier version of Thomas would allow teams to align him as an every-down 3-4 end, where his motor and hand work could mismatch guards. Regardless of alignment, he has enough in the toolbox to project as a rotational lineman with starting upside.

Thomas looks like the type who can add some weight and become a dynamic 34 defensive end.

Welcome to the desert, Cameron.