Philadelphia Eagles: 5 Players Poised For Breakout Seasons
Feb 2, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Seattle Seahawks cornerback Walter Thurmond (28) celebrates a first quarter safety against the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
That’s right, Maxwell’s former partner in the “Legion of Boom” in Seattle joins him as a potential breakout player for 2015. Thurmond has spent most of his NFL career as a nickel cornerback but accepted the challenge of playing safety in Philadelphia. Although he made the position switch just three weeks ago, Thurmond is already getting first team snaps alongside safety Malcolm Jenkins.
Many reporters believe Thurmond is now the favorite to start week 1 and rightfully so. He’s got a knack for finding the ball and fits the mold for what the Eagles look for at safety. Since Kelly and Davis have come to town, they’ve always preferred safeties with experience at cornerback and Thurmond checks off that box. He also has the length and athleticism they prefer on the defensive side of the ball as well. I wrote a bit more in-depth about Thurmond making the switch to safety, including some film breakdowns here. Here’s a bit more about his length from my piece:
"Listed at 5-11, 190 pounds, Thurmond isn’t the most physically imposing player on the Eagles’ defense. But he does possess the length and athleticism that the team looks for in their secondary. Although he may be considered “small” by many, Thurmond has ridiculously long arms and big hands for the position. With 32 3/4″ arms and 9 5/8″ hands, Thurmond is quite a rare physical specimen. But how freakish are his measurements? Put it this way, Thurmond has longer arms than Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (32″) and bigger hands than Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (9 1/4″)."
The Eagles made a strong run at Patriots safety Devin McCourty in free agency and also showed interest in now Packers defensive back Damarious Randall during the pre-draft process. Thurmond has a very similar build and skill-set as those two players and figures to fit in well in the Eagles’ defensive scheme at safety. Similar to Bradford, Thurmond is injury prone and has just one year remaining on his contract. It would benefit both Thurmond’s pockets and the Eagles greatly if he could have breakout season at safety in 2015.
Next: Zach Ertz