Prospect Preview: Jemea Thomas DB Georgia Tech

Bob Donnan/USA Today Sports

By Draft Lead Philip Arnold @PhilipArnold20

Jemea Thomas CB/S Georgia Tech

5-10 195 lbs. Senior

86 Tackles, 3 TFL, 4 INT, 6 PBU. Starter of 14 games in 2012, has 16 career starts.  Led the Yellow Jackets in INTs, fourth in ACC, and was second in tackles.

Game Notes vs. Miami 5 Tackles, 1 INT

  • Thomas lines up at corner this game, and plays every play as the right cornerback. He plays 13 snaps to the field and 18 snaps to the boundary. Thomas plays mainly man coverage, but mixes in some cover 2 and 3.
  • Technique: Thomas is fluid and has a good change in direction. He does a good job in his breaks to lower his hips and drive quickly. He had good footwork, no false steps,  coming out of his breaks and driving the up field shoulder of the WR.  In loose man, Thomas left a bit of a cushion and Miami took advantage of it with quick hitting routes. In press coverage, Thomas is quick and covers good ground. He is good at opening his hips and running step for step with receivers, showing good speed and change in direction. Thomas doesn’t like to use his hands pressed up, but when he did he struggled. Thomas stopped his feet, lunging out toward the receiver, losing his leverage and causing separation and a window for QB Stephen Morris. 

    Thomas highpoint

    Here, you can see both the athletic ability and ball skills of Jemea Thomas. He uses his athleticism to get vertical off the ground and high points the football, before the WR can become a defender.

  • Ball Skills: Thomas’ ball skills in this game were highlighted by his high point on an interception (right). Thomas does a good job forcing the WR to the sideline and shielding them away from the throw.
  • Against the run: Thomas did a good job keeping contain on outside running plays and keeping his outside arm free. He took good backside pursuit angles and ran down a few plays to the opposite side of the field. Thomas came on a blitz off the edge and showed good speed and made a nice swat on the ball when Morris raised it.
  • Play that stood out: 2 down and seven to go. Thomas is lined up to the field in man coverage against Rashawn Scott, and will run a Post-Corner route on Thomas. As the ball comes into play between Scott and Thomas, Jemea does a great job of forcing Scott to the sideline and getting his hands up for the ball. Scott, who stands at 6-2, has a few inch advantage over the 5-10 Thomas. As Thomas makes a play for the ball, he highlights his athletic ability to get vertical off the ground and shows off his ball skills to high point the football and make an interception.

Game Notes vs. Florida State ACC Championship 8 Tackles, 1 INT

  • Against the Seminoles, Thomas shows off his versatility in the Yellow Jackets defense. Last game we saw Thomas line up as a corner, this game we see Thomas playing both the free and strong safety positions, while mixing in at cornerback.
  • Man Coverage: From the safety spot, Thomas did what he had to do. He showed off tremendous closing speed and burst on a bubble screen. Thomas came down hill quickly on a bubble to the WR. He did a great job of attacking the inside hip of the receiver and took away any cutback. When Thomas was lined up as a press corner, a lot of similar traits from the Miami game were noticed. Thomas does a great job of flipping his hips at the line of scrimmage, and shows the speed to run step for step with the WR. He does a great job of feeling out the receiver and knowing where he is on his hip. Once again Thomas showed off his ability to high point the football and made another interception over a WR with a height advantage. Thomas went up over WR Kelvin Benjamin, 6-5, to make a spectacular one handed Interception.
  • Against the run: As a safety prospect, Thomas wasn’t too impressive in his ability against the run. Thomas was very weak at the point of attack and got pushed pretty far down field. He was slow to come into the box on runs and seemed slow to read the play. Thomas did run the alley very nicely on a couple plays showing his burst and speed downhill (highlighted below). Against blocking Wide Receivers, Thomas used his hands nicely to get off blocks, but did get cut down field setting up a huge running lane.
  • Play that stood out: Thomas had a relatively quiet game up until this point and makes two exceptional plays late in the fourth quarter with his team down six points. The first of which is on a 2 down and 12 to go speed sweep. Thomas recognizes the jet motion from the WR and sees the play happening quickly. He shows great burst and speed to come down hill quickly and run the alley very well, taking a great angle. Once Thomas is attacking the ball carrier, he does a great job of running his feet on the tackle and getting his head across for a crushing open field tackle. The next play is 3rd down and 10 yards to go. Thomas lines up at a press corner position, to the field. He does a good job of getting a punch into the receiver, throwing off timing a bit between Benjamin and QB EJ Manuel. Once Thomas has disengaged from his press, he opens his hips fluidly and is running step for step with Benjamin. He uses his hand and body to feel out the route of Benjamin and has little separation. All of this puts Thomas in position to make an exceptional, leaping one handed interception once the ball is coming down and get his offense a chance to tie the game up
    This sequence of photos shows both Thomas' ability to change direction quickly and closing speed to run with the vertical route of the WR. Coming off press at the LOS, Thomas is one step to even with the WR, highlighting his ability to flip his hips and change direction. In the second picture we see Thomas, 30 yards down field, with still a step ahead, showing off his speed vertically.

    This sequence of photos shows both Thomas’ ability to change direction quickly and closing speed to run with the vertical route of the WR. Coming off press at the LOS, Thomas is one step to even with the WR, highlighting his ability to flip his hips and change direction. In the second picture we see Thomas, 30 yards down field, with still a step ahead, showing off his speed vertically.

    and possibly take the lead.

What Thomas does well

Jemea Thomas is a very athletic defensive back who offers scheme versatility. Though Thomas lines up at both the safety and cornerback positions, I like him more as cornerback prospect. Thomas possesses fluid hips which allow him to change direction, quickly. Both as a corner and safety, Thomas has shown exceptional burst out of his stance, and great closing speed downhill and up field. To the upper right you can see the speed Thomas has running with a WR. He is quick out of breaks, lowering hips, with good footwork and rarely false steps (below). Jemea Thomas may not hold a height advantage over edge wide

Notice here the low hip level of Jemea Thomas as he goes into his break. He also shows his footwork with a great T-Step in the back and his front foot pointed towards the breaking WR.

Notice here the low hip level of Jemea Thomas as he goes into his break. He also shows his footwork with a great T-Step in the back and his front foot pointed towards the breaking WR.

receivers, but he makes up for it in his athletic ability and ball skills. Thomas is great at using his body to force wide receivers away from the football on vertical routes. He has shown great leaping ability and the technique to high point the football once he has shielded the WR away from it.

What Thomas needs to improve

Thomas Read

Thomas (black), needs to improve his ability to read from the safety position. His first step here will be to the left, as the play is going to his right. You can see 10 other Yellow Jacket defenders moving, as Thomas is standing still waiting.

As a safety prospect, there are a few areas Thomas can continue to improve. Though Thomas has shown the ability to run the alley quickly, he is slow in his reads and comes into pictures to late and too far down field (right). He needs to be better at reading the play in front of him and providing better run support. Thomas can also improve his ability at the point of attack. He gets pushed around a bit and is moving backwards, not delivering a blow. He has shown the strength to press blocks of Wide Receivers from the corner position and would like to see him show more at the safety spot. Thomas does allow a little too much cushion is his loose man, and teams did take advantage of the cushion he was allowing.

Top Matchups 

10/05 at Miami

11/02 vs. Pittsburgh

11/14 at Clemson

11/30 vs. Georgia

Continue to follow the PFC Prospect Previews bringing you a new preview everyday. You can see the most recent previewed in this series, David Yankey OG/OT from StanfordAll videos used for this prospect are courtesy of draftbreakdown.com and their player video database.