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Seahawks on tape: Simeon Thomas Scouting Report

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NFL: Cleveland Browns-Minicamp Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

For the past two years, I’ve scouted for the Inside the Pylon Draft Guide. Led by Dan Hatman, who has thorough experience in NFL Front Offices, the guide has introduced me to a plethora of prospects. In 2017 I reported on running backs and defensive backs. This year, I focused solely on defensive backs.

One player I scouted for the 2018 product was Seattle’s most recent addition to their roster—Simeon Thomas. In the pre-draft process, Thomas screamed Seahawks. At 6ft 4, 190lbs with 35” arms, at his pro-day he jumped 39” vertically and ran a 4.46 seconds forty-yard dash.

Furthermore, the scheme he played in was one which would ease his transition to Seattle as it contained elements of their scheme.

Thomas had reportedly visited the Seahawks prior to this year’s NFL Draft. Pete Carroll’s tantalizing draft clues even hinted at selecting Thomas, before the Cleveland Browns decided to take him at Round 6, Pick 14.

Now released by the Browns, Thomas has been claimed off waivers by Seattle.

Below is my scouting report on the man who will compete for the Cornerback #2 position. Enjoy!

Simeon Thomas Scouting Report

Position: Cornerback

Overall Grade: 5.75 (Athletic, priority free agent)

Games Watched: 2016: vs Boise State, @ Georgia Southern; 2017: @ Texas A&M, @ Ole Miss, vs Georgia Southern

College: Louisiana-Lafayette

Year: RS Senior

Age: 24 (Sept. 22, 1993)

Height: 6034

Weight: 190

Arm: 35 1/4

Hand: 9 1/8

RAS: 7.26

10-Yard Split: 1.60 (pro day)

40-Yard: 4.46 (p)

3-Cone: 7.00 (p)

Short Shuttle: 4.28 (p)

60-Yard Shuttle: DNP

Bench: 4 (p)

Vertical: 39” (p)

Broad: 135” (p)

Flags: Age, Character and Football Character

Bio:

24-year-old that played one complete season in his four years at Louisiana-Lafayette. Missed the first two games and last game of 2017 due to academic ineligibility. General studies major. 1 of 13 players accused of on-campus theft in April 2017. Missed the first nine games of his redshirt sophomore season due to academic ineligibility. Redshirted his sophomore year. Freshman year he missed the game against Akron due to “lack of practice preparation.” Has two brothers and one sister. Cousin, Kermit Whitfield, plays for the Cincinnati Bengals and was a four-year letter winner at Florida State. Cousin, Marvin Bracy, was a two-time All-USA high school track and field team selection, is a three-time U.S. national champion in the 60-meter dash, and played football at FSU.

Medical History:

None of significance.

Scheme Fit:

An incredibly long corner with a 4.47 forty, Thomas suits a step-kick press Cover 1 and Cover 3 scheme similar to that of the Seattle Seahawks, where he can hold receivers at the line, half turn and bail downfield. He can then use his length to squeeze receivers to the sideline or the deep middle safety, and play the ball downfield.

Positives:

  • Length and Height
  • Jam Strength
  • Willingness to be Physical
  • Run Support

Negatives:

  • Open-Field Tackling
  • Transitional Balance
  • Half-Turn Footwork
  • Guessing on Routes
  • Intermediate Zone Route Disruption
  • Play-Making Instincts

1-Year Projection:

Thomas is a very raw player technique wise, but his willingness to be physical and his ability taking on blockers makes him a potential special teams contributor.

3-Year Projection:

After two years of learning the technique of the team that drafts him, such as being consistently good in press, Thomas can be a functional starter. His lack of play-making instincts will limit his ceiling.

Summary:

Spent time at both right and left corner, often playing on the boundary side and rotating in and out of most games. Utilized various techniques, such as a half turn and shuffle rather than a backpedal, plus a kick-step and buzz-step press. Mainly played off-man coverage with a 5-to-7-yard cushion, head-up press, or quarters with a strong inside shade. Excellent measurements for a corner: massively long with huge wingspan and tall height.

The Good (Good < Very Good < Excellent < Rare):

Excellent jam strength from press. In both press-man and press quarters, he is very good at squeezing the receiver to the sideline on go routes with excellent physicality and subtle hand fighting. Good at adjusting his quarters zone on quarterback rollouts. Has very good closing speed potential, and even when beat he stays in step with the quickest and fastest of receivers. Very good length allows him to be a very good swatter of the football, and when in phase with the receiver he is very good at knocking passes incomplete.

Good diagnosis of fake screens to his side, playing to his assignment rather than cheating. Very good appetite for contact, makes him a willing block shedder and tackler in run support. Good run fit awareness and very good approach angles in the box, approaches from outside-in rather than surrendering the last point of contain. Takes good open-field pursuit angles. Good tackling form, with head out of the way, his shoulder making the contact and good wrap. His length helps him tackle through stiff arms.

Very good block shedder, fulling extends arms, attacks downhill and does so violently. Very good play strength, his length helps him make contact with opponents first when taking on blocks and he hits from a sunken position, which allows him to knock offensive players over.

The Bad (Marginal < Adequate < Solid):

Needs to move better with his jam, he got caught lunging in which caused struggles running downfield and receivers using his momentum against him. Focusing on one technique at the next level will benefit him, Louisiana-Lafayette appeared to have a mishmash of techniques/teachings. Oversteps with receiver’s jab steps when trying to mirror them at the line of scrimmage. Only a solid buzz step, with the steps varying in length and his body height going “jerky”—needs to stay at a low height rather than bobbing up and down. Adequate half turn technique and footwork, often crossing his feet. As a result he gets caught on the back of his feet and is unable to maintain the cushion, seeing faster receivers burn past him before he can even get close to transitioning. It also forces him to take additional, added steps that reduce his ability to break on balls underneath or stuff like deep outs or comebacks in off-man. Click-and-close is also slowed by getting too upright in his shuffle, reducing his ability to explode.

Adequate transitional balance, with adequate, rigid, and high hips often seeing him stumble and/or lose a lot of speed when flipping his hips to run downfield with receiver. This allows the receiver to get on top of him. His high hips also make his speed turn very cumbersome and essentially a recipe for getting burnt. His squeezing of receivers to the sideline appeared far more inconsistent in 2017. In intermediate zones such as hook-curl, possesses adequate awareness of receivers, lets them pass through his zone without disrupting them. Also loses the location of receivers when the route goes in behind him. Adequate deep zone positioning and keys, struggles to read from #1 to #2 and bisect two vertical routes in his deep zone. Adequate zone eye discipline, keeps eyes on the QB and allows receivers in behind his deep quarter. Adequate eye discipline and patience in man coverage, glances back at the quarterback rather than keeping his attention on the receiver during short and intermediate routes, which naturally affects and reduces his reaction times to receivers’ cuts. His eye discipline is adequate with motion into the backfield, such as orbit. Gets caught peeking which slows his reaction to the snap.

When he does react fast to routes, it is often because he guesses in his route diagnosis rather than correctly identifying the pattern. This causes issues on double moves but also with not staying square to the line of scrimmage in press when the receiver has not clearly declared—locks his hips and gives the receiver an open path. This is not so much of an issue when the receiver releases outside, but inside it is a massive flaw. For instance, on the goalline he guesses on the fade, allowing the slant inside of him. Adequate timing of reaching in to play the ball when not in phase with receiver on over the shoulder catches, needs to read the eyes of the receiver. He is slow to adjust and play the ball in mid-air. Also mistimes his jumps to play the ball when in intermediate zones. Adequate playmaker—he is keen to play the receiver rather than the ball and missed numerous interception chances, some of which were gifted to him. Adequate hands, with the radii often too wide, allowing the ball to hit one hand or go right through them.

On the rare occasions where a blocker does get arms on him first, he is an adequate dis-engager who needs a move and plan to rid him of the arms—be it a club, swim etc. When taking on blocks he needs to learn the right moment to disengage and not get sucked into the blocker for too long. Solid open-field tackling, often fails to break down and gets left in the dirt by a move. Only solid competitive toughness, at times he rallied to the ball and other times, notably when down in games, he lacked hustle.

Highlight Tape

Evaluating a player based on highlights is a terrible process. However, it is an effective way to gain an idea of their style of play:

Fit in Seattle

Thomas is immediately behind the rest of the competition due to his late arrival. He must learn the Seahawks’ cornerback technique, which is going to be especially hard in-season. Playing catch-up will be hard, but he has the athletic tools to make it work. (Just note the scheme fit section of my scouting report) However, Thomas’ lack of ball skills is a major concern.