Former GM gives Georgia Tech’s Justin Thomas an endorsement


Former GM gives Georgia Tech’s Justin Thomas an endorsement

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September 22, 2016 Atlanta - Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets quarterback Justin Thomas (5) looks for a space for a pass in the second half at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Thursday, September 22, 2016. Clemson Tigers won 26 - 7 over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Former Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas’ draft candidacy got a small boost Tuesday.

ESPN analyst Phil Savage, who also is the executive director for the Senior Bowl and previously was the general manager of the Cleveland Browns, said that Thomas would be a worthwhile pickup as an undrafted free agent.

Savage is familiar with Thomas mostly through the Senior Bowl. After injuries to defensive backs at the premier pre-draft showcase game, Savage invited Thomas to come late in the week to participate in this year’s game.

Having only gone through a walk-through, “he took 20 reps in the game, put his face in the fan, so to speak, made a tackle or two,” Savage said on ESPN’s “NFL Insiders” show. “To me, Justin is one of those guys that can develop because he’s got the physical traits to do it. If (Alabama coach Nick) Saban thought he could be a defensive back in Tuscaloosa, I think you’ve got to at least roll the dice on him as an undrafted free agent in this particular selection class.”

Savage was referring to Alabama’s recruitment of Thomas, who committed to play for the Crimson Tide, but withdrew with concerns about how committed Saban was to playing him at quarterback. Savage also is the color analyst for Alabama’s radio broadcast team.

Most likely, Thomas would get his chance at the NFL at defensive back or wide receiver, as, at 5-foot-9, he’s considered too short to play quarterback.

Thomas worked out for scouts and coaches at Tech’s Pro Day on March 17, auditioning as a quarterback, receiver, defensive back and kick and returner. Scouts also timed him in the 40-yard dash somewhere between 4.33 and 4.39 seconds.

The draft is April 27-29.

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