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Thread: Steelers Showing Interest In Fresno State Safety Phillip Thomas

  1. #1
    Legend hawaiiansteel's Avatar
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    Steelers Showing Interest In Fresno State Safety Phillip Thomas

    Steelers Showing Interest In Fresno State Safety Phillip Thomas

    Mar 22nd, 2013 by Dominic Di Tolla



    Fresno State University held their annual Pro Day on Wednesday afternoon.

    When I read that free safety Phillip Thomas performed well during his workout session, I wondered whether or not the Steelers would show interest in the promising prospect.

    Luckily for me, my question was answered earlier today by Ricardo Cano of “The Collegian” (Fresno State’s student newspaper).

    According to Cano, Thomas (6’1″ 208 lbs.) is scheduled to meet with members of Pittsburgh’s brass at some point before “Draft Weekend.”

    At least to me, it comes as no surprise that the Steelers scheduled an interview session with the former Bulldog. As most know, the franchise is in need some sort of viable “transition strategy” to install when the time comes for veterans Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark to retire.

    Long-time backup Ryan Mundy signed with the Giants earlier this month, veteran Will Allen remains unsigned, and 2012 UDFA Robert Golden is the only player behind the starters with any experience.

    Although Phillip is considered to be one of the 2013 draft class’ top safety prospects, the last two years were anything but a cake-walk for him. In fact, heading into the 2012 season, many wondered how well and how much he would be able to play.

    After a productive 2010 campaign (64 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 3 interceptions), Thomas unfortunately sustained a leg injury right before the 2011 season began. The injury was a major blow to Fresno State and Thomas, and the safety was shelved for the entire year due to his broken fibula and high ankle sprain.

    To his credit, Thomas not only fought back from his devastating injury, but he was named a Jim Thorpe Award finalist for his stellar play in 2012. Overall, Thomas started all 13 of the Bulldogs’ games and led the team in tackles (84), tackles for loss (12.0), and his 8 interceptions led the entire FBS-level. In addition to those numbers, Phillip tied for the team lead in forced fumbles (4), and finished second in passes defended (13), and tied for second in Sacks (4.0).

    The aspect of Thomas’ game that I like the most is the fact that he is a ball-hawking safety who displayed the ability to make “splash plays.” Over his career (3 years), Phillip snatched 13 interceptions, forced 6 fumbles, and even scored 3 touchdowns last year. Although Thomas is a bit of a “risk-taker” on the back end, his ability to force turnovers is something that Pittsburgh’s Defense could desperately stand to use.

    In addition to his ball-skills, Thomas is an accomplished blitzer and “in-the-box” player too. During his career, Phillip racked up 17.0 tackles for loss to go along with the 4.0 sacks he made during the 2012 campaign. If he is selected by Pittsburgh, I am sure that Defensive Backs Coach Carnell Lake, one of the League’s best at said craft during his career, will be pleased to utilize the youngster’s skill-set in that area.

    One of the biggest questions that surrounds Thomas (outside of durability after his freak injury) deals with his straight-line speed. While some scouts might be concerned with that part of his game, Phillip was able to at least improve upon his Combine time in the 40 yard dash (4.65 seconds) at his Pro Day when he recorded an impressive time of 4.53.

    If Pittsburgh selects Thomas, I can actually envision the Coaching Staff playing him at strong safety instead of free safety. Due to his toughness and ability to help out deep and “in-the-box,” Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau could use Phillip in a number of different facets like Polamalu has been during his Hall of Fame career. Due to Thomas’ versatile skill-set, he has the potential to be an effective weapon for LeBeau and Lake to utilize all over the field.

    In the event that Colbert & Co. do not draft a Safety in Round 1, I believe that Thomas would be a solid player for the Steelers to target in the late-2nd/early 3rd-Round. A year of development on Special Teams and in sub-packages would benefit the young safety greatly. This would provide Thomas time to adjust to the speed of the pro game, and give him adequate time to learn LeBeau’s “complex” defense.

    Regardless of whether or not Pittsburgh’s brass believe that Thomas is “their guy,” Colbert & Co. are more than likely to select at least one safety prospect during “Draft Weekend” next month.

    http://nicepickcowher.com/2013/03/22...hillip-thomas/

  2. #2
    Hall of Famer Mister Pittsburgh's Avatar
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    Would anyone here truly be pissed if by the end of this draft we took two safeties?

    Do any of these guys project to be a potential 'groomee' at either safety slot?

    39 Green, Isaiah CB 5-10 180 23 R Fresno State
    35 Victorian, Josh DB 5-10 190 24 1 Louisiana Tech
    37 King, Justin DB 5-11 197 25 5 Penn State
    22 Van Dyke, DeMarcus CB 6-1 187 24 2 Miami (Fla.)
    ---- Ventrone, Ross DB 5-8 195 26 2 Villanova
    @_Hellgrammite

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    Pro Bowler supersteeler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Pittsburgh View Post
    Would anyone here truly be pissed if by the end of this draft we took two safeties?

    Do any of these guys project to be a potential 'groomee' at either safety slot?

    39 Green, Isaiah CB 5-10 180 23 R Fresno State
    35 Victorian, Josh DB 5-10 190 24 1 Louisiana Tech
    37 King, Justin DB 5-11 197 25 5 Penn State
    22 Van Dyke, DeMarcus CB 6-1 187 24 2 Miami (Fla.)
    ---- Ventrone, Ross DB 5-8 195 26 2 Villanova
    I wouldn't be ticked as long as Eifert is in the draft mix, but for the players above maybe one will be here in September and thats a BIG maybe.

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    Legend hawaiiansteel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Pittsburgh View Post
    Would anyone here truly be pissed if by the end of this draft we took two safeties?

    not at all, one FS and one SS to be the heir apparents to Ryan Clark and Troy actually would make a lot of sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel View Post
    not at all, one FS and one SS to be the heir apparents to Ryan Clark and Troy actually would make a lot of sense.
    Truthfully if the players are available I wouldn't be upset if 2 of the first 4 picks are Safeties.

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    I’m curious how you all rank the Safeties in this draft.... how would you put these guys in order? (If i left any off please add them)

    Tony Jefferson
    Jonathan Cyprien
    Matt Elam
    Kenny Vaccaro
    Eric Reid
    D.J. Swearinger
    Earl Wolff
    Cooper Taylor
    Rontez Miles
    Josh Evans
    Shamarko Thomas
    JJ Wilcox
    Phillip Thomas
    Shawn Williams
    Duke Williams
    Bacarri Rambo
    Damion Stafford
    T.J. McDonald
    Robert Lester

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by focosteeler View Post
    Truthfully if the players are available I wouldn't be upset if 2 of the first 4 picks are Safeties.
    i think i'd vomit..
    2013 MNF Executive Champion!
    Team Needs, 2015 Draft (In order of need): CB, NT, OLB, FS, DE

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Pittsburgh View Post
    Would anyone here truly be pissed if by the end of this draft we took two safeties?
    Not at all. The Steelers need depth at safety for this season and potential successors to Clark and Polamalu in the future. This year is supposed to be a deep safety class and grabbing 2 safeties could make sense.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by phillyesq View Post
    Not at all. The Steelers need depth at safety for this season and potential successors to Clark and Polamalu in the future. This year is supposed to be a deep safety class and grabbing 2 safeties could make sense.
    by the end, sure, i'd be ok with that... 2 in the first 4 rounds.. I'd vomit.. lol
    2013 MNF Executive Champion!
    Team Needs, 2015 Draft (In order of need): CB, NT, OLB, FS, DE

  10. #10
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    We have been blessed to have exceptional safety play the last several years, in order to continue that, we need at the very least one good safety picked up in this draft. This Thomas kid looks pretty good.
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