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The Future 40, Prospect 12: Earl Thomas Scouting Report

February 23, 2010

A new series was formed several weeks ago here at Bleed Green called The Future 40, and the next edition is here! The segment has and will continue to run every other day until late April as we provide you with in-depth scouting reports of some 2010 NFL Draft prospects, giving you information key to understanding some of the players’ strengths, weaknesses, projected round of selection, possibility of being picked by the Eagles, and much more! And because the Draft is an important event for the entire league, some of the top-ranked players not expected to go to Philadelphia will also be reported on. In the first look at a prospect, we evaluated Nebraska’s DT Ndamukong Suh, who many consider to be the best player in the entire rookie class. In the second, we examined powerful RB Jonathan Dwyer and in the other editions that have released, FS Darrell StuckeyLB Sean WeatherspoonCB Joe HadenQB Mike KafkaOT Ciron BlackDE Greg HardyWR Eric DeckerRB Joe McKnight, and LB Micah Johnson. This time, we will stay on the defensive side of the ball and look at Earl Thomas, who was requested to be covered by one of our fans:

  • Prospect Name: Earl Thomas
  • Position: Free/Strong Safety
  • College: University of Texas
  • Height/Weight: 5’10”, 197 pounds
  • Age: 20 years
  • Class Status: Sophomore

Summary: There aren’t many players that can be named that have made it as far as Thomas has in a short amount of time. The highly-touted Safety out of Texas is only 20 years of age, but is among the top-ranked defensive backs in the Draft. After a trio of starting seasons at West Orange-Stark High School as a Running Back, Cornerback, and Wide Receiver, he was recruited to the Longhorns as a “project” defender. Because of his smaller frame, there wasn’t a ton of confidence that he would become a solid defensive leader in the NCAA, but he sure did in only a few seasons. After being slapped with the redshirt tag in his freshman campaign and therefore not participating in any games, he immediately made an impact on the team in 2008. The 1st-string Strong Safety in all of Texas’ 13 games, Thomas notched an impressive 72 tackles, and also recorded a pair of interceptions and a blocked kick. He was rewarded various awards and his eye-popping first-year performances made the staff sure that he would be a starter in the following season. Indeed he was, and both his leadership skills and statistical achievements improved. Among the team leaders with 63 tackles, Thomas forced a fumble, intercepted 8 passes, and also scored 2 defensive touchdowns. More awards were showered upon the Safety, and his potential to play in the National Football League exploded in a positive way.

Career Statistics:

YEAR TOT SOLO AST SACK STF STFY FF BK INT YDS AVG LNG TD PD
2008 71 52 19 0 0 0 4 0 2 0 0.0 0 0 0
2009 63 44 19 0 0 0 1 0 8 149 18.6 92 2 0

Notable Achievements/Awards:

  • All-American Honors (2008, 2009)
  • Texas’ Most Productive Performer (2009)
  • All-Big-12 Honors (2008, 2009)
  • Finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award (2009)
  • Defensive Back Trophy award winner (2009)

Strengths:

  • Very productive defender
  • Plays with a lot of consistency
  • Can cover a wide area of the field/manage a large amount of assigned territory
  • Has exceptional recovery speed and pursuit of the ball-carrier
  • Reliable tackler most of the time
  • Is excellent in man pass coverage
  • Has the ability to spot the ball’s location and intercept passes often
  • Can recognize opponents’ receiving routes quickly
  • Has potential to provide defense with big play/motivation
  • Takes good angles on tackle and coverage attempts
  • Has a lot of upside, seeing that he’s only played 2 collegiate seasons
  • Has been durable thus far

Weaknesses:

  • Has smaller size for a Safety
  • Tends to hesitate on run defense decisions
  • Is containable versus the run; especially in the NFL
  • Questions have been brought up regarding whether he will be able to take the brutal pounding at the next level, especially with his size
  • Can get out of control sometimes in terms of going for a big hit

Projected Round of Selection: 1st round

NFL Player Comparison: Reggie Nelson, Jacksonville Jaguars

We hope that everyone enjoyed the twelfth report for The Future 40 prospect segment, and urge you to keep checking back for more scouting analysis as the series continues all the way up until the Draft! Also, remember that we will happily take and consider requests from our fans for this series! If you or another Eagle fanatic is interested in seeing a certain player be evaluated in The Future 40, be sure to contact us as soon as possible, and we will attempt to include your selected prospect!

(picture source)

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