DL Cam Thomas (Shana Siler/Scout.com)
In a new semiweekly series, we track North Carolina DL Cam Thomas from now until the NFL Draft. In our first check-in, we look back at the Senior Bowl and ahead to the NFL Combine. Thomas also talks about meeting with Chargers scouts and potentially joining Jamal Williams in San Diego's rotation.
Cam Thomas (6-foot-4, 331 pounds) spent four seasons clogging running lanes at North Carolina. After ringing up 83 totals tackles and nine TFLs during his stint with the Tarheels, Thomas is set to take his game to the next level. He shares his journey with us in this exclusive series following his path to the draft.
Michael Lombardo: Talk about your experience at the Senior Bowl. Was it what you expected?
Thomas: It was a great experience for a guy like me. It was a different environment being out there with all those great players where you can showcase your talent. It shows that you can play amongst men, so it was a really good experience.
ML: Were you able to accomplish everything you wanted to?
Thomas: I feel like I did, for the most part. There's still some stuff you can grow on and get better at. I take everything day by day. It's not over with yet.
ML: How did your meetings go with the NFL teams in attendance? Did any of them stand out?
Thomas: All of them were basically the same. All of them were taking notes. All of them know that I'm a big guy. The Combine is coming up and that will be a little different; that will really show who's interested.
ML: Were any of the interviews more in-depth than the others?
DL Cam Thomas
Thomas: All of them said the same thing, man, there was nothing really different. They all see me as that big anchor guy who can plug that hole up.
ML: Are you drawing more interest from 3-4 teams or 4-3 teams?
Thomas: I can play either a 4-3 or a 3-4, you know, because at Carolina we basically did both of them. It's not that different.
ML: What is the difference for you between the two schemes?
Thomas: In a 3-4 you're head-up over the center, at the zero, and in a 4-3 you have the shade. It's really nothing different. You're right there on the center each time.
ML: Is playing nose tackle in a 3-4 a more demanding position?
Thomas: You take a lot of abuse [as a nose tackle], so you have to be a man to play that position.
ML: Let me ask you about one 3-4 team in particular, the San Diego Chargers. Did you meet with them during Senior Bowl week?
Thomas: Yeah, I met with the Chargers out there. They used to come to the school and stuff. They're looking for a nose. I met with their scout and he was a really good guy, so it went pretty well. I think he's one of the head guys [in San Diego], but I can't remember what his name was.
ML: The reason the Chargers are seeking a nose is that starter Jamal Williams is 33 years old and on the final year of his contract. What would it be like to share playing time with him next season, knowing he's been one of the best in the NFL for the last 10 years?
Thomas: The thing is, I'm going to ask questions. He's one of the best at his job, so I'd want to be around him and stick to him like glue. I'd just try to take away his knowledge of the game with what to do and what not to do. I'd work hard every day to improve my game.
ML: Other than Williams, are there any other defensive linemen you look up to or have been compared to?
Thomas: I've heard people say I'm like Albert Haynesworth a little bit, that I'm a little Albert Haynesworth in the making because of my strength. I have more strength than meets the eye.
ML: It doesn't hurt that following in Haynesworth's footsteps leads to a $100 million contact.
Thomas: Hey, if that were to happen, it'd be a blessing.
ML: Are there any NFL players who are giving you advice about the whole pre-draft process?
Thomas: My homeboy, Kentwan Balmer, he plays for the 49ers and I talk to him a lot. He tells me not to worry about the stuff I'm going through and tells me I haven't really seen nothing yet. He gives me wisdom, you know, what not to do, to work hard, don't lose that hunger.
ML: What are you goals for the NFL Combine?
Thomas: Just to go out there and show them what I can do. Also, I want to run a 4.9 [in the 40-yard dash]. I've been timed at 5.0 before and I think I can do it.
Our next check-in with Cam will come later this month at the NFL Combine.
Talk about other draft prospects of interest inside our Draft Talk Forum.
Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.