The Philadelphia Eagles traded linebackers Moise Fokou and Greg Lloyd for CB Kevin Thomas and a conditional seventh-round pick the other day. How will this impact the depth and competition at cornerback?
And what is it about the Eagles acquiring former Colt CBs with torn ACLs? First it was Marlin Jackson in 2010 and now it’s Thomas. Low risk, high reward I suppose.
Anyway, the Eagles are doing a good job of selling the acquisition of Thomas. Here’s what Howie Roseman had to say in regards to their new corner, courtesy of the Eagles’ press releases:
On what he is looking for from newly acquired CB Kevin Thomas:
“This is a big corner that can run and he was with the [Indianapolis] Colts last year and he played some. He started some games for them and has played some cover two. We think he can go press and is instinctive. We scouted him at USC and he’ll come compete with our other corners and add competition to that spot.”
On the thinking behind acquiring another cornerback in a deep defensive backfield:
“Well for us it was just about the value. They were looking for some linebackers and we also want to see more of our young linebackers so those guys get a great opportunity here. We just felt like it was a win win situation for us and for the Colts. We’ll get another guy. We are always looking for corners and linemen; that is something we will always be on the lookout for. Then the opportunity to also get a draft pick involved as well.”
On whether Thomas can play the nickel cornerback spot:
“I haven’t seen him play nickel so I couldn’t tell you that it is something that we project him yet to do. We’ll see once he gets here if he can do it and go from there.”
The 6′, 192 lbs Thomas was highly thought of coming out of college. He ended up being drafted in the third-round by the Colts in 2010. He then missed his entire rookie season with a torn ACL.
Last season, he recovered enough to play in nine games last year, including five starts.
Unfortunately, the Colts’ defense was absolutely brutal last year and Thomas was a part of that. He didn’t grade out too well per Pro Football Focus either (88th overall with a -6.5 grade).
Ultimately, I think this trade was more about acquiring a seventh-round draft pick rather than a cornerback who will make the team.
The Eagles most likely would have ended up just cutting Fokou and Lloyd anyway, so they figure why not get an extra draft pick instead of nothing. Even though I’ve yet to see Thomas play a single snap, I have a hard time seeing him make the roster.
I mean, think about it…why would the Colts trade away a young CB and a seventh-round pick for two linebackers that wouldn’t even make the roster of a linebacker-challenged team like the Eagles?
In other words, how good can Thomas really be if he was traded for so little?
Furthermore, the Eagles usually keep nine defensive backs on the roster and typically break it down with five CBs and four safeties. Last season, they went with six CBs and three safeties, but I see them going more towards the five and four break down this year.
This means that Thomas is going to have to beat out the likes of Joselio Hanson, Cliff Harris, Trevard Lindley and Brandon Hughes. Nnamdi Asomugha, DRC, Brandon Boykin and Curtis Marsh are all locks for the roster so there is only one spot open for competition.
Actually, it wouldn’t take much to beat out Hanson, Hughes or Lindley, but I’m not sure I’d let Cliff Harris go. Harris has been having a great camp so far and also has excellent punt return skills.
Even though Harris has displayed good cover skills in camp, it’s those return skills that would make him even more valuable (18.8 yard return average and four TDs in his final college season).
It would be a risk to release him as he most likely would not clear waivers (if they hoped to add him to the practice squad).
Unless the Eagles decide to keep six CBs, Thomas will have to play lights-out for the next month and make it virtually impossible to cut him.
Therefore, the addition of Thomas is nothing more than a “kick the tires of a player we liked in college” who will ultimately just be another camp body. Be more happy that we might get a draft pick out of the deal rather than a CB who can make an impact.
With that said, the Eagles will still give Thomas a good look. However, he faces a serious up-hill battle to make the initial 53-man roster.