Former NFL star Thomas Jones definitely has muscle ... but now he's going to be muscle ... playing one of Suge Knight's bodyguard's in the new NWA biopic "Straight Outta Compton."
Jones ... who's been doing a lot of acting now that his playing days are over ... was out in Hollywood when we asked him about his blossoming new career.
TJ tells us he has a role in one of the biggest movies of the summer. We had to do some extra digging to find out who he plays -- a member of Suge Knight's pre-Death Row records entourage.
FYI -- Thomas has another movie "Runaway Island" premiering on TV this weekend ... we're guessing it'll have a lower body count.
Check out the clip.