PROS: He's got good speed along with good hips and burst. He's willing in run support and will deliver blow to ballcarrier or receiver. Is a solid kickoff returner because of his speed and acceleration. Has ability to play well in both man and zone coverage.
CONS: Needs to improve tackling and do a better job wrapping up the defender and taking better angles to the ball.
OVERVIEW: Thurmond was another player I didn't get a chance to see play this year, and basing this off his performance from a year ago. He tore his ACL in the fourth game of the season. But he still managed to have 17 tackles, 1 INT, and 3 passes defended, and took 1 kickoff to the house before he was hurt. Thurmond formed a formidable pair of corners last year with Jairus Byrd, and I think at least at the end of last year, Thurmond had the much brighter NFL future. Byrd went on to make the Pro Bowl as a rookie with the Bills at safety and had 6 picks.
NFL FORECAST: What impressed me about Thurmond last year was that he was able to match up with Dez Bryant in Oregon's bowl game last year and handled himself very well. Both him and Byrd alternated covering Bryant. Byrd had some struggles, Thurmond did not. And that to me shows his potential to be a top guy in man coverage. The knee injury is a concern because he may be somewhat limited as a rookie. Now he should be rehabbed and 100% by the time the season starts, but you always have to be somewhat concerned with draft picks that are coming off injuries because you really didn't get to monitor how their rehabs went between the time they were hurt and they time they join your team in May or June. And that means they could have pushed themselves too hard or not hard enough, which makes the possibility of them contributing as rookies a lot less. So team doctors will have to be close consultants when it comes to Thurmond. But I think when he does get healthy whether that's 2010 or 2011, he has a chance to be a really good starting corner. His upside is such that he may not be one of the elite corners, but I think there is a lot about him that makes me believe he can be a caliber of player on par with a Terence Newman. He is a good kickoff returner that should be able to contribute there if that knee is healthy.
ATL FORECAST: Thurmond would be a good fit in Atlanta because he can potentially excel in both man and zone coverage schemes that the Falcons run. Depending on the health of his knee will determine if he can come in right away, compete and win a starting job. But I'm fairly confident that by his second season at the latest he'd be starting for the Falcons, with the potential to be their top cover corner. He has the potential to be able to match up with the better receivers in the league. Not to mention he could also potentially be a better kickoff returner than Weems because of his top speed and acceleration.
VALUE: Had Thurmond not been injured, based off his strong finish from a year ago, I would have projected him to be a first round pick. So I see first round potential in him, but because of the injury he should be an early to mid-second rounder instead.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
MAN COVERAGE: 4.0
ZONE COVERAGE: 3.5
BALL SKILLS: 4.0
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.