Eric Thatcher, FS, Pittsburgh

Scouting Reports of safeties in the 2009 NFL Draft
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Pudge
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Eric Thatcher, FS, Pittsburgh

Postby Pudge » Wed Aug 17, 2011 12:30 pm

Eric Thatcher
5-9/200 Pittsburgh
4.71 Senior

Pros: Willing in run support and shows more pop than you would expect out of his small stature. Does a nice job in the open field. Shows some quickness and ball skills when working in centerfield. Has decent awareness in zone coverage and generally has a nice nose for the ball.

Cons: Lacks size and it shows as a tackler. Doesn't always wrap and will miss some stops in the open field. Has trouble matching up with tight ends. Has poor hips and can't match up with wideouts either.

Overview: On paper, he's a marginal NFL prospect, but he plays bigger than his size would indicate, and isn't completely lost in coverage. Broke his ankle, missing second half of 2006 season. He'll turn 25 in December.

NFL Forecast: He could stick as a decent dime safety if he is developed a bit more. Plays tough and hard, but his lack of size really hurts his upside. He's not a playmaker, but usually doesn't make mistakes and a nice clean up guy in the secondary. Won't know if he gets that chance, as he'll have to stick early on special teams. But if he can impact early on special teams, could eventually get the chance to add some depth. He'll never be an NFL starter, but could be a decent third safety in a pinch. Not the guy you want as your top backup safety, but he'll do as a stopgap for a year or so. If he can perform well on special teams, he's a guy I could see sticking around the league for five or six years.

ATL Forecast: Thatcher is a player much like Antoine Harris who came out of nowhere to land the dime back duties for the Falcons in 2007. Thatcher could give a repeat of that performance, but he lacks the ideal upside to be a starter down the road to really merit the Falcons making a significant investment in developing him. But he could add some depth and potentially challenge some bubble players on the roster in camp.

Value: If he was 2 or 3 inches taller, I'd probably be willing to use a seventh round pick on him. But since he's not, I'll let him go undrafted.
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