Coverage - Lacks the desired range to be a true single high safety but I love his skills in other techniques. Astute in zone coverage with a sharp understanding of coverage spacing and route recognition skills. Wires never get crossed and he anticipates well. Experience at both safety and corner leads to an apparent understanding of everyone's role. Patient in man coverage and doesn't false step. Won't be able to handle speed from the slot but is a great candidate for going 1v1 with bigger slots and tight ends.
Tackling - Is guilty of aiming too low, attempting to chop down ball carriers and dropping his head. Want to see him elevate his aiming point to eliminate misses. Wouldn't call him a big hitter but his contact power and balance is good. Generally takes sound angles that put him in the correct position to tackle.
Processing - Diagnoses plays very quickly and accurately. His awareness and anticipation in zone coverage is outstanding. Has a natural feel for recognizing routes. Finds the ball quickly in the air when he is tested. Always knows where "help" is and does well to leverage routes accordingly.
Ball Skills - He doesn't have the closing burst to always make plays at the catch point but there is no question he has excellent ball skills. Plays with great extension and technique to deflect passes. Mitts are secure when he has a chance to intercept a pass. Quickly finds the ball in the air and adjusts. Outstanding ability to drive forward on the football.
Range - Modest. Lacks the ideal range to serve as a true centerfielder. That said, he does process quickly and reads the backfield with precision to work into throwing lanes. Play diagnosing skills help overcome modest range. More of a linear athlete. Angles to the football are generally sound. Can play in deeper zones, just not necessarily as a one high safety.
Physicality - Not a tone-setter but he holds his own. Does well to work through contact in pursuit of the football. Wins in the contact window and at the top of routes when contact is present. Illustrates sound contact balance and power when tackling.
Play Speed - Has some limitations in terms of range and recovery speed. There are some matchups in the slot, mainly against quicker receivers, that could be problematic for Thornhill in man coverage. Read and react skills are excellent.
Flexibility - Don't think it's fair to call him tight, he just isn't overly twitchy or dynamic with his burst. Change of direction skills and transitions are smooth but not rapid. Lateral mobility can be underwhelming.
Versatility - Has experience at both safety and corner, but his best fit in the NFL comes at safety where he played as a senior. Excels in multiple techniques although there are some limitations situationally in man and when playing single high. Thornhill thrives in defending split zones.
BEST TRAIT - Processing
WORST TRAIT - Burst
RED FLAGS - None
A three-year starter for the Cavs, Thornhill has experience at both safety and corner but spent his final season in Charlottesville at safety where he best projects to the next level. Thornhill excels in coverage from a variety of techniques. He has a natural feel in zone for coverage spacing and working into throwing windows while also effective in man coverage where his length and physicality will serve him well working against tight ends and bigger slots. There are some matchups in the slot, mainly against quicker receivers, that could be problematic for Thornhill in man coverage but he has the physical traits to lineup with flexed tight ends and big-bodied possession receivers. Thornhill is a fairly versatile safety that has the upside to start early in his NFL career.