Coverage Spacing -He doesn't have elite range, but he's seemingly always in the hip pocket of defenders on vertical shots down the field (middle of field). Does well in underneath coverage as well to sink and buzz into position to take away lanes from underneath.
Acceleration -Pretty modest, doesn't show a lot of explosiveness or ability to spring into action quickly and undercut throws when he's the isolated defender in zone coverage. His straight line speed is effective, just not when he's forced to alter angles.
Tackling -Like his pop through the pads, although his aiming point is pretty low and he'll miss some tackle challenges as a result. Lack of wingspan is partly to blame. Takes good angles in pursuit and does well to arrive to the football well balanced.
Zone Coverage Skills -Super smart. Love how well he processes the action, particularly in deeper portions of the field. His peripheral vision is really sharp and he's rarely taken off guard by developing routes. His anticipation helps mask for modest quickness and agility.
Ball Skills -Nose for the football is top shelf. Really does a nice job to sniff out targets and get involved at the catch point. Extension skills are present to high point the football and shows good timing when testing his reach to extend for the ball.
Competitive Toughness -He's pretty stout, although there's a bit of inconsistency with his tackling that is cause for concern. He's a really good cut down tackler and can deliver pop. Fights through contact in the box well enough and shows good, stout anchor at the top of route stems.
Flexibility -Wouldn't call him stiff, as he can hinge and get his hips around to drop out of his stance. But he's a tick less dynamic when his hips aren't aligned with his pads. Shows good extension skills to attack the football in coverage.
Feet/Change of Direction -Footwork is pretty effective, shows patience in coverage to not bail suddenly and hang him self out to dry. Doesn't show a lot of power or burst in hard breaks and as a result can give soft coverage trying to work back into the hip of receivers.
Man Coverage Skills -Exposure as a boundary CB serves him well. He can drop down into the nickel and lock up TEs effectively. Has good level of combativeness to try to re-route receivers but turn and run skills are only modest. Won't match up favorably against agile receivers.
Versatility - Kind of a weird hybrid: he's effective in the nickel but only against certain match-ups. Will play effective free safety but not when he's isolated and tasked with ranging sideline to sideline. Three down player, just match-up specific.
BEST TRAIT - Deep Coverage
WORST TRAIT - Linear Speed
BEST FILM - Miami (2018)
WORST FILM - NC State (2018)
RED FLAGS - None
Juan Thornhill projects favorably as a Free Safety in a Cover-3 system. Thornhill doesn't necessarily have the kind of burst or range to play a lot of Cover-1 as a single high option, but he's terrific with his spacing and spatial awareness to transition between routes and ensure he's in position to challenge the football. Thornhill has value in the shallow areas as well thanks to his experience as a CB and can be used in pressure packages in man to man. An intelligent player and starter.