Last year, San Francisco's second round pick Tank Carradine was coming off an ACL tear suffered in November of his last season at Florida State. Carradine rehabbed all summer, didn't participate in training camp and began practicing with the team six weeks into the season. But he never made it on the roster due to scar tissue buildup inside his knee that required offseason surgery.
In the fourth round of that same draft, the 49ers selected Lattimore, who many believed would have been the first running back selected had he not tore three ligaments and dislocated a knee cap in his final game with South Carolina. Because his roster has been so deep over the last two seasons, Baalke has been willing to take chances on player he believes are better than their status. But with 2014 being the first time Carradine and Lattimore will take the field, it's still unknown if it's a worthy strategy. - The Sports Xchange
05/12/2014 - A closer look at the 49ers' picks: Round 3/100 -- Brandon Thomas, G, 6-3, 317, Clemson...Thomas would have likely been taken in the second round if not for tearing an ACL during a private workout leading up to the draft. The 49ers will stash Thomas on the PUP list for the season as he recovers and gives them a viable option to replace Pro-Bowl left guard Mike Iupati next season when he likely walks in free agency. - The Sports Xchange
04/15/2014 - Five players who should be on the Seattle Seahawks' draft radar: OG Brandon Thomas, Clemson: Thomas looked like a potential top 50 selection based on three quality seasons starting for the Tigers and a very impressive week of practice at the Senior Bowl but his draft stock took a massive hit when he tragically tore his ACL during a workout. The Seahawks showed a willingness to gamble on players with injury concerns a year ago, essentially giving "redshirt" seasons to former Alabama defensive tackle Jesse Williams and LSU cornerback Tharold Simon as they recovered from serious leg injuries of their own. With a deep enough roster to do the same in 2014, the Seahawks could turn Thomas' misfortune into yet another day three discovery. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
04/07/2014 - The nightmare scenario for any prospect preparing for the NFL draft happened to Clemson offensive lineman Brandon Thomas, who tore the ACL in his right knee while working last week. Thomas, a versatile three-year starter with experience at left guard and left tackle, had earned a second round grade from NFLDraftScout.com. The news was first reported by ESPN's Adam Caplan. It was confirmed by Aaron Brenner of The Post and Courier, who quoted Thomas' agent, Tom Kleine: "As you can imagine, [Thomas is] kind of running the gamut of emotions. Training was going great," Kleine said Monday. "We're just still in the process of notifying teams. Will it affect his stock? Probably." News of his injury and upcoming surgery and rehabilitation, however, has already dropped him to the 119th overall prospect on NFLDraftScout.com's board and 3rd-4th round grade.
Teams might be even tougher on Thomas, whose ability to play next year is now seriously in doubt. Klein told Brenner that Thomas had already gone through seven or eight individual workouts with NFL teams with several more scheduled. That number could grow now with news of Thomas' injury as teams evaluate how quickly he'll be able to recover. It is a tragic turn of event for Thomas, whose stock had been soaring after turning heads at the Senior Bowl due to his surprisingly long arms, light feet and versatility. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
04/07/2014 - Former Clemson offensive tackle Brandon Thomas absorbed a major blow to his 2014 NFL Draft stock, tearing the ACL in his right knee during training Thursday. The news was first reported by ESPN's Adam Caplan Monday afternoon. Thomas' agent, Tom Kleine, confirmed the bad break to The Post and Courier, saying Thomas had already completed "seven or eight" individual workouts with separate NFL teams and had several more scheduled. "As you can imagine, he's kind of running the gamut of emotions. Training was going great," Kleine told the Post and Courier. "We're just still in the process of notifying teams. Will it affect his stock? Probably." After strong performances at the NFL Scouting Combine and at Clemson's Pro Day, Thomas had been regarded as a solid second-round prospect by numerous publications with a potential move to the interior line. - Aaron Brenner, The Charleston Post Courier
01/25/2014 - 2014 Senior Bowl, Helped Themselves: Brandon Thomas, OL, Clemson - The unquestioned top offensive lineman in Mobile this week was Notre Dame's Zach Martin, who starred at left tackle for the Irish but projects better at guard due to his short arms. Thomas didn't earn nearly the media attention but also performed well at tackle despite a frame (6-foot-3 and a 1/2, 314 pounds) that suggests he too will be making the move inside in the NFL. Late in the game, itself, Thomas was playing outside at tackle with Martin asked to move inside to guard. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
01/21/2014 - 2014 Senior Bowl: 10 observations from Monday's North practice...9. Clemson OT Brandon Thomas played left tackle in college, but he projects better at guard where he can operate in a smaller space and that showed in practice on Monday. He measured in at 34 3/8" arms and will use that length to engage and bury defenders - just ask fellow ACC prospect DE James Gayle out of Virginia Tech who Thomas dominated a few times. But the former Clemson blocker also struggled in space during drills, bringing up questions on whether or not he should stay on the edges. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
01/21/2014 - 2014 Senior Bowl Tuesday...One player lacking elite measureables who pleasantly surprised me along the line of scrimmage today was Clemson tackle Brandon Thomas. While shorter than ideal at 6-foot-3 (and a 1/2), the 316-pounder has good balance and the reach (34 3/8" arms) to latch and control on the perimeter. He, like Martin, may project best inside for some but handled speed and strength, alike, during Tuesday's practice. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
12/13/2013 - 2013 ALL-ACC FIRST TEAM (COACHES): OT-Brandon Thomas, Sr.-R, Clemson (23)...Thomas helped the Clemson offense average over 40 points and 500 yards per game this year. A first-team All-ACC selection last year, Thomas has started 35 consecutive games and has 96 career knockdown blocks. - Clemson football
12/04/2013 - 2013 ALL-ACC SECOND TEAM (MEDIA): T Brandon Thomas, Clemson, 6-3, 305, Gr.-R, Spartanburg, S.C. (104)...Thomas helped the Clemson offense average over 40 points and 500 yards per game this year. A first-team All-ACC selection last year, Thomas has started 35 consecutive games and has 96 career knockdown blocks. - Clemson football
10/28/2013 - WEEK 9 ACC OFFENSIVE LINEMAN OF THE WEEK: Brandon Thomas, Clemson, Gr.-R, OT, 6-3, 305, Spartanburg, S.C.,...Thomas played 93 of Clemson's 98 offensive snaps with a 90 percent grade and five knockdown block to lead the Tigers to a season high 236 yards rushing and 540 total yards in Saturday's 40-27 ACC road win at Maryland. It was the third straight game that Thomas emerged as Clemson's top offensive lineman with a grade in the 90s. The left tackle provided the key block on both of running back Rod McDowell's touchdown runs in the fourth quarter, when the Tigers scored 21 points to put the game away. - ACC football
07/16/2013 - 2013 LOMBARDI AWARD WATCH LIST: T Brandon Thomas, Clemson...Thomas has been a guard and a tackle over his three previous seasons at Clemson. The native of Spartanburg, SC and Dorman High is a veteran of 36 games, 23 as a starter, and has played over 1900 career plays. Last year he was named a first-team All-ACC offensive tackle by the ACC Media Association. He played a team high 987 snaps over 13 games, all starts. He was a big reason Clemson finished with an 11-2 record and a number-nine final national ranking by USA Today. - Clemson football
07/16/2013 - 2013 OUTLAND TROPHY WATCH LIST: Brandon Thomas, Clemson, OT...Thomas is one of 11 ACC players (offensive linemen or defensive linemen considered) on the list, one of four offensive tackles. The others are Cameron Ervin of Florida State, James Hurst of North Carolina and Morgan Moses of Virginia. Thomas has been a guard and a tackle over his three previous seasons at Clemson. The native of Spartanburg, SC and Dorman High is a veteran of 36 games, 23 as a starter, and has played over 1900 career plays.
Last year he was named a first-team All-ACC offensive tackle by the ACC Media Association. He played a team high 987 snaps over 13 games, all starts. He was a big reason Clemson finished with an 11-2 record and a number-nine final national ranking by USA Today. The Tigers established 101 team and individual records last year. That includes a record 41 points an 512 yards of total offense per game. - Clemson football
06/27/2013 - TOP CLEMSON NFL PROSPECTS: 4. OT Brandon Thomas (6-3, 305, 5.18)...Entering his third season as the Tigers' starting left tackle, Thomas earned second team All-ACC honors last season as a junior but is a little bit a of tackle-guard tweener prospect for the next level. He utilizes angles well and shows good awareness, keeping his head on a swivel and staying alert through the whistle, which is especially important with a mobile quarterback like Boyd. But Thomas often looks uncomfortable on the outside in space, lunging when asked to cover a large area and struggling with speed rushers.
He has choppy footwork and needs to develop better knee bend as he often ends up hunched over at the waist. Thomas' hand placement is hit or miss, which puts him in unfavorable positions to try to block rushers in space, lacking the overpowering strength to redirect his target when he does make contact. While he'll enter the NFL with an intriguing resume as a three-year starter at left tackle for a powerful offense, Thomas still has a lot of room to develop before he's ready for the next level. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com