Zachary Thomas didn’t make a big splash when the Chicago Bears drafted him early in the 6th round last month. This shouldn’t be a surprise. Late selections rarely attract media attention. Yet it’s a centuries-old tradition to project what a rookie is and what he could become. After evaluating Thomas, it’s interesting to see how many similarities he shares with an established Bears veteran. Left guard Cody Whitehair.
Both grew up in the center of the country. Whitehair was from Kearney, Nebraska, while Thomas lived seven hours away in Papa, Texas. Then there are the body types. Whitehair entered the NFL at 6’4 and 301 pounds. Thomas is 6’5 and 308 pounds. Both played tackle in college. Whitehair moved up to guard/center in the NFL, and Thomas is playing early guard snaps. Then there are the sports profiles.
- 40-yard dash – 5.08 seconds
- Bench press – 16 reps
- Long jump – 110 inches
- 3-taper drill – 7.32 seconds
- 40-yard dash – 4.96 seconds
- Bench press – 21 reps
- Long jump – 107 inches
- 3-taper drill – 7.4 seconds
David Montgomery stays intact for a 14-yard touchdown… but my 👀 goes straight to LG, Cody Whitehair. It has my favorite boulder of the weekend and a dominant 🥞 boulder. check it out @ChicagoBears pic.twitter.com/CJUF4hTQWI
— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) December 21, 2020
— Bear Nation (@BearsNationCHI) April 30, 2022
Even their scouting reports were similar right out of college. Whitehair was singled out as an athletic player who performed at his best in space. The same was said of Zachary Thomas. If the Bears rookie can improve his power base, he could find himself on a similar trajectory as his new teammate. In fact, he may have a higher ceiling, thanks to his underrated pass protection skills. Time will tell us.
Betting on an offensive lineman in the 6th round is always a dangerous proposition. Again, it’s important to remember that Managing Director Ryan Poles is a specialist in this area, having held the position himself. He may have seen things in Thomas that others missed. He will also be in an attacking pattern that perfectly matches his style of play. Don’t be shocked if he ends up breaking the starting lineup. Whitehair did it as a rookie and in a position he had never played before. It should be an informative season if Thomas is anything like him.
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