It’s no secret that the Eagles need help on the defensive side of the ball. Safety is just one of the positions the Eagles could look to address with their first round pick in this year’s draft, and Texas safety Earl Thomas is one of the players the Eagles could look to pick up.
Thomas is an early entrant into the pros but really showed us he’s ready after the numbers he put up last year at Texas, leading his defense to a national championship appearance. He’s not the biggest player at 5′ 10″ 200 pounds, but he makes up for it with athleticism and play-making ability. Last year, he had eight interceptions in 14 games and took two of them back for interceptions.
He was a limited participant in the NFL Combine, but has been clocked with a 40-yard dash time in the 4.4s. Watching him play, you can tell he can cover a lot of ground very quickly. Not only does he use that ability to get interceptions, but he often uses it to close the gap on ball carriers where he is a very sure tackler.
Analysts have him ranked in their top three safeties with Eric Berry and Taylor Mays. There’s no question that Berry will be off the board by the time the 24th pick rolls around, but Mays and Thomas may both be available. I think Thomas is a better pick over Mays because he is more natural at playing the safety position. Mays is more of a freak athlete who happens to play safety.
Assuming the Eagles stay at the 24th pick, it seems like it’s going to be coin toss whether or not Thomas will be available or not. Some projections have him off the board in the top 20 picks while others have him going later in the first round. If the Eagles really like what they see, I believe he is the kind of talent they could trade up to get.
Check out some highlights of Earl Thomas from last year: