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2023 NFL Draft Profile: Thomas Incoom, EDGE, Central Michigan

The Georgia native has a chip on his shoulder as one of just two MAC reps who featured at the Senior Bowl.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FEB 01 Reese’s Senior Bowl Practice

It’s been a long journey for Stone Mountain, Georgia’s Thomas Incoom.

A native Ghanian who moved to the United States as a teenager, Incoom picked up football very late, starting out as a kicker before eventually earning a two-star grade as a tight end. He would go on to land a spot on the roster of Valdosta State, a Division II power program four hours down the highway. Incoom was converted to edge rusher after gettign redshirted as a freshman, which ultimately proved to be a pivotal decision, as he managed to earn a starting job midway through his second season, and win first-team all-Gulf South Conference honors as a redshirt sophomore in 2019.

2021 opened up an opportunity for Incoom in the way of a transfer after COVID cancelled the 2020 FCS football season. Incoom opted to take advantage of the free year and transferred to Central Michigan via the portal.

Incoom was an immediate force at the edge position, finishing with 84 tackles, 27 tackles-for-loss, 15.5 sacks, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries in 25 appearances (15 starts.) Incoom was rewarded handsomely for his 2022 performance, winning first-team all-MAC honors and receiving invitations to the East-West Shrine Bowl, the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine.

He is a “lead by example”, high-motor player who is eager to prove his worth at the next level as well, describing himself as an explosive, never-give-up pass rusher who seeks to “dominate every rep” to the Detroit News in January.

We’ve tracked Incoom’s performance at both the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine before, but here, we’ll be looking deeper at him as a future prospect.

Incoom has a number of positives going for him in terms of projection to the NFL. For one, his raw numbers will catch eyes on their own. Incoom is a super-athletic player, capable of playing at the edge or inside at the five-tech position, with a favorable Relative Athletic score in either position. Although he has very limited snaps at linebacker, his numbers still port over fairly well there too.

His six-foot-two, 262 lb. frame is a bit small for a true closed end or inside defensive lineman, but the results are undeniable; Incoom’s 2022 campaign saw him finish with 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles-for-loss, proving he was productive despite some natural limitations.

Incoom’s use of leverage and quick first step made him a handful to deal with at the collegiate level. His instincts are especially visible here against Oklahoma State, as he gets off to a strong start, gets into the tackle’s outside by jab-stepping in, then sacks Spencer Sanders with elite closing speed (1.65 in the 10-yard dash).

Incoom employs a similar move here vs. Northern Illinois, using his arms to maintain separation from the tackle, then showing off great bend to get under the outside block and get to the quarterback to cause a turnover for a defensive touchdown.

Incoom showed off great technique from the EDGE spot at the Senior Bowl as well. On this rep, Incoom is able to get his hands up quickly from the four-point stance, push Maryland’s Jaelyn Duncan out of his stance with his arm length, then turn on the afterburners to collect a “sack” on the play.

We’ve discussed Incoom’s motor already, but it’s something which should be seen to be fully understood. In this clip vs. South Alabama, Incoom absorbs the initial chip block on the blocking stunt, then meets the pulling guard at the point of attack. Incoom is initially stopped on an attempt to step inside, but is then able to maintain his balance, pull around to the outside, and effectively stuff Carter Bradley in the backfield to force a key stop on his own.

Over the Senior Bowl, we saw some new looks from Incoom, as he was asked to play inside on some pass rushing reps at the five-tech position. Incoom held his own despite his relative inexperience and smaller size thanks to his pure speed and length.

Lined up here against North Carolina’s Asim Richards, Incoom is immediately able to brush Richards aside with his initial burst and is able to maintain that speed and balance despite being held, collecting a “sack” on the rep.

Incoom wasn’t done yet with Richards, though, as during one-on-one drills between interior defensive linemen and offensive guards, Incoom showed a strong sense of leverage, getting low on Richards and pushing him straight backwards.

There are a few parts of the game where Incoom will have to do some work in order to be a more well-rounded player. He can be a bit stiff and heavy-footed in the initial parts of the play, and is over-reliant on his burst and speed in the attack phase, which pro tackles could likely take advantage of by being able to use their hands to hold him back. Run-stuffing will also be a point of improvement, as Incoom often overpursued or bit on fakes to try and get a quick step to the backfield.

On this fumble return touchdown, Incoom is assigned to the running back, but his angle of pursuit is poor, allowing the back to get around him with ease. It ended up being a happy little mistake because the back was unable to handle the pitch, but there were several times where this came in to play, which is something to note.

It’s a point of improvement, certainly, but as you can see here, there’s promise there as well if it can be corralled.

Incoom is also a very raw prospect despite his age; he has only played defensive end since 2019, and will be entering the Draft as a sixth-year senior. The team which drafts him will have to be okay with playing Incoom right away somewhere, as he’s a bit too old to stash-and-cash on a practice squad.

Thankfully for Incoom, he has already shown enough to be considered for a passing down rotation at the very least, and could make a James Houston-esque contribution if utilized correctly. The hope would be to help him improve his move arsenal and up his run-stopping abilities so he can be a reliable backup option. Until that point, though, he could also be a special teams player, as he has exhibited great awareness in the past as a kick rusher.

Incoom’s draft stock has fallen a bit since the end of the college football season, but that’s though no fault of his own. The 2023 EDGE class is one of the deeper ones we’ve seen in awhile, with immediate contributors to be found in every round. Incoom was a Top 100 prospect post-season, and now looks to be around somewhere from the late third round to the sixth round depending on projections.

The team which drafts Incoom will have to have a specific role in mind and start molding him into that as soon as possible to get the most out of him. If that’s at 4-3 EDGE, 3-4 outside linebacker, or a rush defensive tackle, the team which drafts Incoom will have a versatile, instinctual football player who should be a quick learner and good competition in the position room at the very least and a fast, hard-working rotation piece to rely on at full strength.