Inside The Bills

A safety prospect with top takeaway skills

Posted by Chris Brown on April 27, 2013 – 11:24 am

The Bills defensive staff during their first voluntary minicamp were pushing the message of thinking offensively on defense and going to get takeaways. As we prepare for the fourth round to start Day 3 of the NFL draft there’s a premier ball hawk still on the board.

Fresno St. S Phillip Thomas, who made a pre-draft visit to One Bills Drive earlier this month, is a premier takeaway artist. He has 20 turnovers in his college career, 13 of which were interceptions. Eight of those INTs came in 2012 when he led the nation in picks. He also had six forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

“He might have some of the best ball skills in this draft. You can see that in his interception production,” said Bills scout Matt Hand. “He’s a big safety so he can play the pass and the run. You’d like him to run a little faster, but he can cover the tight ends down the middle. He’s a very savvy player and can make a lot of plays. I think his ceiling is going up especially after he had to sit a year. Very productive coming off an injury.”

Thomas returned three of his eight interceptions last season for touchdowns. A physical hitter with solid football instincts, the centerfielder is always around the ball.

His game speed is said to be better than his timed speed after he ran a 4.57 40 time at the Combine. Thomas also had a 35-inch vertical and 10’2” broad jump. He additionally had 14 reps on the bench press.

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