Zachary Thomas didn’t get a lot of fanfare when the Chicago Bears drafted him early in the 6th round last month. That shouldn’t be a surprise. Late round picks rarely get much attention from the media. Still, it is a time-honored tradition to project what a rookie is and what he could become. After evaluating Thomas, it is interesting to see how many similarities he shares with an established Bears veteran. Left guard Cody Whitehair.
Both grew up in the middle part of the country. Whitehair came from Kearney, Nebraska, while Thomas lived seven hours away in Papa, Texas. Then there is the body types. Whitehair came into the NFL at 6’4, and 301 lbs. Thomas is 6’5, and 308 lbs. Both played tackle in college. Whitehair moved to guard/center in the NFL, and Thomas is playing early snaps at guard. Then there are the athletic profiles.
- 40-yard dash – 5.08 seconds
- Bench press – 16 reps
- Broad jump – 110 inches
- 3-cone drill – 7.32 seconds
- 40-yard dash – 4.96 seconds
- Bench press – 21 reps
- Broad jump – 107 inches
- 3-cone drill – 7.4 seconds
David Montgomery goes untouched for a 14 yard touchdown… but my 👀 go directly to the LG, Cody Whitehair. He’s got my favorite block of the weekend and a dominating 🥞 block. Check it out @ChicagoBears pic.twitter.com/CJUF4hTQWI
— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) December 21, 2020
— Bears Nation (@BearsNationCHI) April 30, 2022
Even their scouting reports were similar coming out of college. Whitehair was tabbed as an athletic player that operated at his best in space. The same was said of Zachary Thomas. If the Bears rookie can improve his power base, he might find himself on a similar trajectory to his new teammate. In fact, he may have a higher ceiling, thanks to his underrated pass protection skills. Time will tell.
Banking on a 6th round offensive lineman is always a dangerous proposition. Then again, it’s important to remember GM Ryan Poles is a specialist in that area, having played the position himself. He might’ve seen things in Thomas others missed. He’ll also be in an offensive scheme that fits his playing style to perfection. Don’t be shocked if he ends up cracking the starting lineup. Whitehair did as a rookie and at a position he’d never played before. It should be an informative season if Thomas is anything like him.