The Rams made several roster moves this week - one of which was adding former Chargers and Steelers DT Cam Thomas. We reached out to the managers of two SBNation communities from his former teams, Richard Wade from Bolts from the Blue (the home for fans of the San Diego Chargers) and Jeff Hartman of Behind the Steel Curtain (for fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers), to get some insight about what type of players the Rams were getting:
The Rams didn’t see much of Thomas during his time in the AFC. How would you describe his style of play?
Cam Thomas is a decent run stuffer. His pass rushing ability is mediocre.
Thomas is a versatile player who can play both 3-4 DE as well as nose tackle. He was more of a depth defensive lineman for the Steelers, but did flex into the nose tackle position when an injury required him to assist there. Other than position, Thomas is your standard 3-4 defensive lineman. Not ridiculously athletic, but takes up blockers to allow the linebackers to make plays behind him.
Thomas has played both NT and DE in a 3-4 his entire career – first with the Chargers then with the Steelers. At 6-4 and a massive 330 pounds he has the build of a traditional DT. Do you think his ability transfers to the Rams 4-3 base defense?
He's a better fit as a tackle in an even front than he was as 0-technique in San Diego. The position asked more of him than he had to give and he could not hold up.
Tough question considering I didn't see him in a 4-3 set while in Pittsburgh. Thomas is a player who is large, but not very athletic. He tends to get pushed off the ball easily, and his inside pass rushing moves are not the greatest. He is best against the run, but any type of movement which requires him to break down laterally will be a challenge for Thomas.
The Rams had a lot of leadership leave the defense when James Laurinaitis and Chris long were released this offseason. Is Thomas the type of player who likes to step up and fill that role?
I've never seen him as a leader. He was, at least during his time in San Diego, much more of a "me-first" player, if anything.
If he is that type of player, he never showed it in Pittsburgh. In his time with the team he rarely saw the field with any regularity. Relegated to a backup position, Thomas simply wasn't able to crack the starting lineup. The same situation could be true with the Rams' stout defensive front. I will say he was never an issue in the locker room and off the field. His veteran leadership could help a young group like the Rams.
As a writer who has covered Thomas, what type of impact do you think he can have with stars like Aaron Donald and Robert Quinn playing alongside him?
Thomas is a role player. He will probably have more success with Los Angeles because in that defense he won't be asked to play the kind of snaps that he did here and Pittsburgh. Playing next players the caliber of Donald and Quinn cannot help but make him look better than he ever has before.
Thomas will know his responsibilities. When playing alongside guys like Donald and Quinn, you need to just do your job. Eat up the blockers and let them attack the backfield. Thomas will be able to do that for the Rams' defense. Unfortunately, Thomas does not display many playmaking characteristics which will impact the team on a regular basis.
A special thanks to Richard and Jeff for taking the time to answer these questions.