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Lawrence Thomas Believes Versatility, Experience An Advantage


A four-year contributor for Michigan State, Lawrence Thomas played four different positions during his collegiate career and believes his versatility can be an asset in the NFL.

One of the areas the Washington Redskins are looking to improve upon from the 2015 season to the 2016 season is the play of their defensive line.

The team is returning guys like Chris Baker, who is coming off a career season, Ricky Jean Francois and Stephen Paea, while others like Terrance Knighton (a pending unrestricted free agent) and Jason Hatcher could return, too.

But even with that that group, having a surplus of defensive line depth -- and an infusion of young talent -- is never a bad thing.

In a 2016 draft class absolutely loaded with talented defensive linemen, Michigan State's Lawrence Thomas believes he can be an instant contributor at the NFL level.

Thomas played four seasons for the Spartans, starting the last two, recording 72 career tackles with six sacks.

The Detroit native started his career at linebacker, before being moved to defensive end during his redshirt freshman season.

Thomas also got some action at defensive tackle and even some at fullback.

"I'm just trying to show [the scouts] how I can move and my size," Thomas told at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. "I can hold the edge and I can also show them how versatile I am by going inside at defensive tackle well, and being to go back outside and just show them that I can compete against the best across the country."

During his final two seasons as a starter, Thomas, 6-foot-4, 305 pounds, started all 27 games with 68 tackles along with six sacks.

In the Spartans' victory over the Baylor Bears in the 2015 Cotton Bowl, Thomas was part of a defense that stopped its opponent for -20 rushing yards.

"I'm blessed to be able to know all the positions on the defensive line, so of course knowing all positions is a plus," Thomas said. "Ain't nothing like knowing the man next to you, knowing his job, it makes the game that much better. So playing as a rookie, I feel like that'll be amazing just to go out there and just be able to do that for any team that drafts me."

While Thomas doesn't know when or where he'll be selected come April's NFL Draft, he has one connection to the Redskins: Kirk Cousins.

Before Connor Cook broke his record this season, Cousins was the winningest starting quarterback in Michigan State history.

Thomas was there with Cousins during the 2011 season.

"Oh yeah, Kirk is amazing," Thomas said. "He was a senior when I was a freshman at Michigan State, and I always looked up to Kirk, he's a great guy. Just to see him saying 'You like that' and we actually said that after he did it or whatever, so we joked about it and everything, but yeah, Kirk is an amazing dude."




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