#5 RB Jahad Thomas (5’10 | 188 | 4.47)
An extremely productive all-purpose back over the last two seasons with 37 total touchdowns. The 2nd team All-ACC player has done a little bit of everything for the Owls. This season he rushed for 918 yards (4.6 ypc) and 13 TDs, caught 32 passes for 426 yards and six TDs, and even returned kick and punts.
Thomas is a little on the small side for an NFL back and might struggle between the tackles, but has good hands out of the backfield and is an excellent blocker in pass pro. He excels with the ball in space, making cuts and changing direction without losing much speed.
Thomas is currently projected at the end of day three, but his versatility will find him a home somewhere at the next level. He could help teams as a third-down back, fill in on early downs if needed, and be an asset on special teams as a return man and gunner.
The Bears lack a reliable receiving back and both a kick and punt returner, so Thomas makes sense as a day three target.
Projection: 6th-7th round
#8 LB Marquel Lee (6’3 | 240 | 4.65)
The 2nd team All-ACC linebacker finished fourth in the conference with 60 solo tackles. Lee was also disruptive in the backfield with 19 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles. The senior was extremely productive for the Demon Deacons and has the size, speed, and awareness to make an impact at the next level.
Lee is currently an ILB and could play that position at the next level, but might be a better fit outside. He’s been a force against the run with the speed and motor to track down ball carriers all over the field. He’s a solid tackler in space and has become more of an impact hitter this season.
Lee’s main weakness is the ability to shed blocks and find the ball in traffic, which is why I think he’s a better fit outside at the next level. Regardless of where he ends up, Lee should make an impact on special teams from day one and eventually develop into a solid NFL player.
Projection: 4th-5th round