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Road to the Draft: Phillip Thomas

By Jay Skurski

Phillip Thomas

Position: Safety
School: Fresno State
Measurables: 6-foot-0, 208 pounds
40 time: 4.65 seconds. 225-pound bench press: 14 reps. Vertical: 35 inches. Broad jump: 10 feet, 2 inches.
2012 stats: 84 tackles, 12 for loss, four sacks, eight interceptions, four forced fumbles, five pass breakups
Draft projection: Second round

Lowdown: A horrific leg injury cost Thomas all of the 2011 season, as he dislocated his ankle and broke his left leg in a non-contact drill three days before the season opener. ... He did not show any signs of being slowed by the injury in 2012, as his eight interceptions (three of which he returned for touchdowns) led the nation. ... Was a finalist for the Thorpe award as the nation's top defensive back. ... Accounted for 20 turnovers in his college career, making him one of this draft's best playmakers on the defensive side. Shows good instincts as a blitzer. ... Has an overall impressive combination of size, speed and toughness. ... Anticipates where the ball is going and has the leaping ability and soft hands to make a play on it. ... Made a pre-draft visit to the Buffalo Bills earlier this month.

Fails to recognize play action quick enough at times. ... Does not have great change of direction skills, but should be adequate for a safety. ... Could stand to add some strength at the the NFL level. ... Did not play against top competition week to week in the WAC and Mountain West.

He said it: "Being able to go into a meeting room with them and talk about football and watch the film that I put up is really the biggest thing,” Thomas said of his pro day. "So when they watch the film on me, I get to explain coverages and explain the things that I do well and the things that we’ve done here at Fresno State will definitely help me."

The Buffalo News is profiling 50 prospects in 50 days leading up to this month's NFL Draft. 


2013 draft | Road to the Draft
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |