The St. Louis Rams hosted Illinois Fighting Illini standout offensive tackle and guard prospect Hugh Thornton on a pre-draft visit last week, according to a tweet from Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Although Thornton played plenty at left tackle for Illinois, he is best fit at the guard position. He doesn’t have the pass blocking ability or technique to be a left tackle at the pro-level, and he is probably only a swing-tackle at RT. However, Thornton looks like a very good fit at guard.
As a former wrestling champion in high school, Thornton certainly has the needed strength and tenacity to be an NFL guard. Thornton has the potential to be a mauling run blocker, and his technique at guard looks natural. The fact that he can fill in at tackle only adds to the Illinois product’s versatility, but Thornton looks best on the inside.
The Rams could use another body on the offensive line, especially a versatile offensive lineman like Hugh Thornton, who can make a solid impact for the Rams at guard or give them an extra body at OT. Thornton’s projections in the 2013 NFL Draft are all over the map, as some think he could go as high as the third round, while others believe he is only worth a sixth-round selection. I believe Thornton is going to end up being selected in the fifth round (possibly the fourth), but a third through sixth-round selection is the range for Thornton. He overcame a lot as a teenager (sister and mother murdered in Jamaica when he visited them), so Thornton is definitely somebody who you want to see succeed in the pros. It’s good to see that the Rams are working him out, because he would be a nice fit for them.
At this point in time, I haven’t seen reports of any other workouts for Thornton.
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