After taking a much needed couple of days off to recharge the batteries, I'm back to full speed ahead. The other writers on this site may try to do something similar to this post as you may have seen their material yesterday. My primary focus will be on the defensive prospects of the 2013 draft. Let's begin my profiles with one of the most intriguing and unknown safeties in 2013.
- Prospect Name: Phillip Thomas
- Height/Weight: 6'1 210
- School: Fresno State
- Class: Senior
- Projected Round: 2nd-3rd
- Senior Bowl stock: UP
Thomas has the speed and instincts that made him a ball hawk safety that led him to a nation leading eight interceptions, three of which were of the pick six variety. He's very fluid with little to no wasted motions in turning on a dime in coverage. He's also generally in the right place at the right time to make the tackle. Thomas is also good coming off the corner in blitz situations, getting to the target in most cases. The speed is really showcased in those. He had a good week of practice during the Senior Bowl that continues to lift his stock in an upward trend. The coverage drills were very good and he stepped up his play when the level of competition rose. He got beat a few times but had the closing speed to break the pass up.
Thomas has a tendency to take the wrong angles at times and gets lost in the "wash" on occasion. While being in the vicinity of the ball, he sometimes fails to wrap up properly, which lead to big plays that he somehow catches up to and makes the tackle anyway. The Oregon tape is the best example but the Ducks offense is so well designed that it catches even the best defenses off guard. The leg and ankle fractures that forced him to miss all of 2011 is a slight concern but the way he bounced back after that is a good sign.
Keep this in mind that he did all of this in just 3 years of actual play after missing 2011 with a medical redshirt.
8 interceptions (13 career)
4 career pick sixes
5 passes defensed (15 career)
4 forced fumbles
I'd take him in the second round over Matt Elam since the Titans need more of a ball hawking safety instead of a head hunter like Elam. Thomas has the tools to be a good safety in the league and can be coached. You don't teach the kind of speed and instincts that he was blessed with everyday. He's definitely rising up the boards fast after a great year and a good Senior Bowl experience. I believe that he can be in a rotation with Griffin, Markelle Martin, and Babineaux right off the bat.