The Kansas City Chiefs selected University of Virginia safety Juan Thornhill at pick No. 63 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft.
The Chiefs are still schedule to pick one more time on Friday night, at No. 84 overall in the third round.
S Juan Thornhill
Virgnia • 5’11” • 210 pounds
(report powered by the KC DRAFT GUIDE, published on 4/8)
EXPECTED DRAFT RANGE: Top 100
BACKGROUND: Three-star recruit in high school playing quarterback and safety, as well as being a highly recruited basketball player. Played sparingly as a freshman and started all but two games over his next two years at cornerback before moving to safety and starting every game as a senior. Named All-ACC first team as a senior.
STRENGTHS: Thornhill has solid size and good length while looking extremely smooth moving around the field. His FBI is very high and he processes the game quickly whether near the line of scrimmage or playing deep. His angles to the ball are aggressive but well thought out and he has a good first step when beginning his break. His ball skills are top notch. He reads the quarterback and wide receiver to jump routes and clean up overthrows. When in man coverage, he carries from the hip pocket and uses his length to disrupt the ball. Thornhill isn’t afraid to come up and make a tackle and is an above-average blitzer.
WEAKNESSES: Thornhill doesn’t possess the thickest frame and his explosion doesn’t show up consistently on the field. Change of direction, especially in man coverage, is labored and quality speed can get him in man coverage. When playing as a deep safety, he doesn’t always stay deeper than the deepest and his range is good, not great. Thornhill is a diving tackler and has no interest in taking on blocks. He will run himself out of a play trying to avoid a block and make the tackle from the side or behind.
HOW HE FITS WITH THE CHIEFS: Thornhill is an incredibly smart, versatile safety prospect that has experience playing outside corner- back, in the box and as a deep safety. The blueprint and optimism for him to make the jump at any of those positions are there. He’s at his best reading the quarterback and wide receiver in front of him and using his FBI to make aggressive breaks on the ball. For the Chiefs, he could slate quite well in as a free safety in Steve Spagnuolo’s scheme. Playing a fourth of the deep field and matching route concepts underneath are some skills that Thornhill should thrive in with his ball skills and intelligence.
PLAYER COMP: Byron Jones
Reaction: This is a player I’m thrilled about the Chiefs taking. Thornhill is a top-50 player for us in the KC Draft Guide. He has good size and an excellent athletic profile. Thornhill ran a 4.42 40—yard dash and posted a 44-inch vertical jump.
Thornhill started as a cornerback but eventually moved to safety. There’s been talks that he could potentially go back to his original position. Regardless of where he plays, the coverage skills will be a valuable asset for the Chiefs immediately. I expect Thornhill to see time early in the back end of Steve Spagnuolo’s defense.
Chiefs 2019 NFL Draft picks (six picks)
- Round 2: Pick No. 56 overall — Georgia WR Mecole Hardman
- Round 2: Pick No. 63 overall — Virginia S Juan Thornhill
- Round 3: Pick No. 84 overall — Western Illinois DT Khalen Saunders
- Round 6: Pick No. 201 overall — South Carolina CB Rashad Fenton
- Round 6: Pick No. 214 overall — Utah State RB Darwin Thompson
- Round 7: Pick No. 216 overall — Illinois C Nick Allegretti
Selection time limits
- Day 2: Round 2 (seven minutes per pick) • Round 3 (five minutes per pick)
- Day 3: Rounds 4-6 (five minutes per pick) • Round 7 (four minutes per pick)
- (Compensatory picks = four minutes)
Grade the pick of Virginia S Juan Thornhill at 63.
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