The Chicago Bears selected San Diego State offensive lineman Zachary Thomas in the sixth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Thomas, who lined up at offensive tackle for the Aztecs in 2021, was listed as a guard by the Bears with their selection.
Thomas is a versatile player who has experience starting at tackle and guard during his collegiate career. Here’s what NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein wrote of Thomas in advance of the 2022 NFL draft:
“Tackle-to-guard prospect with run-blocking talent to work with, Thomas is a fit for zone-scheme teams as a sticky move blocker with the ability to shift and stay connected while continuing to keep his feet moving. He lacks the desired mass and power to generate much downhill push, but improved hand placement could help. His play strength, in general, needs an upgrade, as does his protection posture, to prevent defenders from exploiting certain flaws. Thomas has late-round potential and could find a place on an NFL roster as a guard with emergency tackle flexibility.”
Thomas has the athletic profile that General Manager Ryan Poles said he wants from his offensive lineman; he has quick feet and can navigate to the second level and finish. He’s a lean 6-foot-5 and 308 pounds and ran an impressive 4.96 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.
Thomas is an excellent example of a day-three player who will have a legitimate opportunity to earn a starting job in his first season. The Bears’ right guard job is ripe for the picking, and Thomas will enter training camp as arguably the most naturally talented option to choose from.
Poles is having a strong third day of the 2022 NFL Draft. Thomas may be the best pick so far, and earns a solid B+ grade.