Cedric Thornton

Posted: March 4th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 19 Comments »

A few people have asked about DT Cedric Thornton.  He spent most of the year on the Eagles Practice Squad.  Some team tried to sign him away.  The Eagles gave him a raise to stay and eventually added him to the regular roster.  The team remains high on him.

I thought Thornton could go as high as the 4th round last year.  Apparently there were some character issues that pushed him down or off draft boards.  Lucky for us.  Thornton showed some potential at Lehigh, but was very raw.  He wasn’t good enough to play yet, but the Eagles love his upside and are very glad he is still with the team.

Thornton is 6’3, 309.  He has a very quick first step.  He made a ton of plays at Southern Arkansas in 2009.  Teams really focused on him in 2010 and his production went down.  He mainly played DE in college.  He got to the Senior Bowl and looked pretty good in the practices.  Here are the notes I had on him from the game:

THORNTON — Has some quickness off the ball. Pushed Moffitt back on run play, then got tangled up and fell down. Really fought to get through a double team and put some pressure on the QB on a pass play. Just missed getting Kaepernick for TFL on QB draw. Showed real good burst off the ball on that play. There was a series in the late 3rd when you could literally see him a 1/2 step quicker off the ball than anyone else. Really impressive burst.

I’m sure Washburn loves his initial quickness.  Where Thornton needs work is what to do once he’s gotten penetration.  I didn’t see particularly good closing speed or playmaking skills from him.  The skills can be developed.  You either have closing speed or you don’t.  That’s the difference in sacks and pressures.  I think Thornton probably projects to NT, but that’s a guess.  He’s so young and raw that he could look significantly different this summer.  Guys like him can change quite a bit once they master the scheme and hone their technique.  Having a great coach like Washburn makes a big difference.

Thornton can’t be counted on for anything.  He should be good enough this year to make the roster, but there’s no guarantee of even that.  We’ve seen small school guys in the past that flashed as rookies and then failed to develop.  They don’t always understand just how hard it is to stay in the NFL.  This isn’t like college where once you’ve got the scholarship you’re good for 4 years.  In the NFL you fight for your job on a weekly basis.  Some guys get that, some don’t.

I love Thornton’s potential, but because of his background I’m not counting on him for 2012.  He’s a wildcard to me.

* * * * *

Someone asked about Jason Jones as a FA target.  Don’t think so.  Great fit.  Young.  Would be good.  Problem is that there are several guys in the draft who I think the team could like.  Those players are younger and cheaper than Jones.  Why sign him when you can draft them?  Sure, he’s a proven  commodity, but we’re talking about picks in the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd round.

I think some team will pay Jones decent bucks.  If he gets ignored somehow and becomes a bargain that is just too good to pass up – maybe.  I’m sure Washburn will sing his praises and the move would make some sense, but I think the wise move would be to use a pick on a young DT to add to the mix.  It will be interesting to see what happens if the market isn’t there for him.  That’s how we got Cullen Jenkins last year.  For some reason, teams ignored him.  Thanks guys.

* * * * *

Posted some notes over at ScoutsNotebook.  Check them out and then scroll down below.  The Onion did a review of the Combine.  Great stuff.

19 Comments on “Cedric Thornton”

  1. 1 Brian McGaughan said at 9:25 AM on March 4th, 2012:

    Tried to put these thoughts on the Mathis post, but for some reason it wouldn’t post, so I thought I would try here. Normally I would expect the Eagles to go hard after FA’s like Carl Nicks or Mario Williams – elite players in their young-ish prime. That is supposedly what they always saved their cap dollars for.

    It seems that this year the focus (maybe it is just us fans) is on the positions of need, like MLB,SLB, WR depending on what happens with DeSean. And I get that, and definitely think that they need to address those areas, but perhaps can do so without paying elite money (e.g., go after Fletcher or Hawthorne at MLB rather than the probably higher-priced Lofton, and still get a big upgrade over last year). But I would really like to see them go after elite players like Nicks or Williams; one of the reasons they might not could be that they don’t “need” that kind of player given the somewhat unique systems brought by their respective line coaches.

    Which brings me to a concern about Reid’s current situation. How do they make personnel decisions, for the lines especially, if Reid really is in a “prove it” year? Do you draft and sign guys who are perfect fits for the Wide 9 and Mudd’s system, knowing that there is at least a reasonable chance that they won’t be coaching here next year? Or do you go after a guy like Nicks or Williams, who would be studs in any system, probably, and still could help this regime next year? Or maybe a compromise is less than elite players who could still be useful in other systems? That could be one of the concerns with Mathis – do the Eagles pay him very good money, somewhat requiring that he stay for 2-3 years for cap purposes, when he might be worth that under the Mudd system but not so much if a new O-line coach comes in who is more enamored of Castillo-type players than Mudd types?

    And to tie this into the current post, maybe that is another reason not to go after Jason Jones unless it can be for what can be essentially a one-year deal – if Wash is gone next year, Jones’ value would seem to be a lot less.

  2. 2 D3Keith said at 1:48 AM on March 5th, 2012:

    I really don’t buy into the idea that Reid will treat this year any differently than any other year when it comes to trying to win as many games as possible. Those dudes aren’t blowing smoke when they say they’re always trying to win the Super Bowl. The pressure might be on, but in the NFL, it’s always on, and often self-inflicted as much as it is driven externally.

    That said, I think the idea that the team is mostly crafted to be successful already and the balance between bringing in vets and drafting new players is something the front office will have to work out.

    I think you make a really good point about the type of free agents the Eagles pursue — elite players, often at highly valued positions (Asomugha, Peters, though technically a trade, Samuels, Kearse, Owens).

    Does anyone this year fit that bill? Good question … perhaps the better question you raise is that do the Eagles see “need” the way the fans usually do (i.e. what position on our team was weakest last season). The team really doesn’t, so perhaps we could be in for a surprise or three between now and the end of April.

  3. 3 austinfan said at 9:34 AM on March 4th, 2012:

    Thorton and Dixon provide depth in camp, they’re more than camp bodies, they’re the kind of players you want to fill your 80 man roster, if you’re lucky, they take a big jump forward and you’ve got a “freebie,” if they look decent in exhibition games maybe you can deal them for a conditional draft pick.

    I don’t see anyone paying Jason Jones big bucks, he’s a mediocre LDE, and too small to play DT for most teams in anything but an off the bench role, and even there, he’s not a great pass rusher to bring in on passing downs (he’s got a lot of stuffs, not sacks). Look how little demand there was for Landri last year, a 4th rd pick who had started for Carolina the year before and put up good numbers – most teams just don’t want DTs south of 300 lbs.

  4. 4 Brian said at 3:43 PM on March 4th, 2012:

    I think Dixon’s a little more than an 80 man roster guy…

  5. 5 Jack Waggoner said at 5:26 PM on March 4th, 2012:

    I’m a Dixon fan. Might not be ideally suited for this system. Still, we didn’t see him long enough to know for sure how he would fit.

  6. 6 Skeptic_Eagle said at 10:08 AM on March 4th, 2012:

    Nice note on Thornton, but this might mean we’re in the doldrums of the NFL season. Just don’t tell me that igglesblitz is doing a 3 part piece on Jamar Wall next. All jokes aside, I guess it’s probably crazy to think former 2nd rounder Victor Abiamiri could compete at all for a spot on the DL–DT or DE, right? Gee, tough to see two 2nd rounders walk after contributing little on their rookie deals!

    I guess coming into the offseason, I didn’t realize how thin the Birds were at DT. From rumors and analysis, we’ll probably see a high-ish addition to DT in the first 3 rounds or so. If Cox is gone in the first, maybe they go for Crick in the 2nd, which would be solid. I don’t know what the options look like in the third…Mike Martin, Malik Jackson or Derek Wolfe, maybe? Do you have any opinions on adding Josh Chapman as a rookie IR guy to possibly play NT in the future? Definitely did the heavy lifting for Alabama. I’m wondering what the projection for Chapman is. I’d use a 4th on him, but probably nothing north of that.

    Also, are you still thinking the Birds go after a MLB in FA? I’d say signs were looking ominous that they were going to address the position with a high-level player if they’re already making noise that they aren’t interested in Lofton, but there’s the little exception of the Nnamdi Asomugha signing that gives me trepidation before pronouncing a guy off the Eagles radar. I’m really hoping they don’t go for a guy like Jon Goff, Channing Crowder, or Barrett Ruud or something. They’ve got to get a real answer in there.

  7. 7 GeorgeFleep said at 2:36 PM on March 4th, 2012:

    How much defensive line players would be ideal? Im thinking 11 (4 DEs and 6 DTs). Sounds high but i think its about right. Last year eagles had with 3 LDE, 3 UTs, 2 NTs, 3RDEs.For next year im thinking that 3 DTS could also contribute as the DEs in certain passing situations if needed. My ideal lineup for 2012 would look as listed LDE: Jason Babin, Brandon Graham UT: Cullen Jenkins, Cedric Thornton, Jason Jones, Fletcher Cox NT: Mike Patterson, Derek Landri RDE: Trent Cole, Phillip Hunt. Cedric Thornton, Jason Jones, and Fletcher Cox apparently all have had experience playing DE before so if needed a 3rd guy in a rotation just look towards UT. Anything is an upgrade over Trevor Laws. He is not quick off the ball, from what i can tell. There is apparently rumor that the eagles wanted or want to resign him so play DE/DT. What type of contract would that look like that? And if Jason Jones like Washburn then he would probably take a pay cut.

  8. 8 Escobar5 said at 12:03 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    7 is way way to many DT to keep on a team, plus you only named 6 DT in your ideal dline. If we go for cox, we will not sign jones. And I’m fine with keeping 5 DT if 1 is a high potential young player. In regards to our 1st round pick I can name 5-6 players I would want with that pick, and if not I would consider trading down. Depending on the desean situation, we may be in the market for a WR, with 15, I would want floyd, unless blackmon drops and we can trade up to maybe 10 to get him. Other than floyd, no other offensive player is worth 15. On defense no safety is even close, and no corner with the skill sets is there (slot corner), unless by some miracle claiborne drops to 10 (which is unlikely like blackmon). Luke is worth 15 but he may not last. On Dline the 3 names that intriuge me the most are poe due to raw potential, ingram due to versatility, and cox due to he’s quickness and pass rushing ability. Off the top of my head I don’t see a pure DE that intriuges me enough to spend the 15th pick. Value DE can be found in later round such as cam johnson in the 4th, possible vinny curry with our 2nd 2nd round pick, but I would like someone slightly bigger

  9. 9 brza said at 12:39 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    If the Eagles do stay put at 15 I think the following players in order would be worthy of the pick and a good fit for us:
    1. Kuechly
    2. Cox
    3. Floyd
    4. Poe (His lack of production worries me but he’s just so physically gifted)
    5. DeCastro (only if they can’t resign Mathis)

    Of course that all depends on what happens in free agency. If the Birds sign a MLB to a big contract I guess Kuechly will no longer be on our board as much as that would disappoint me.

    One thing that just dawned on me after looking at Alkire’s Mock Draft is that if the Seahawks don’t resign Hawthorne we can pretty much forget about getting Kuechly unless we trade up ahead of them. Hopefully the Hawks do resign him. Signing Hawthorne to a moderate contract then taking Kuechly if he’s still available at 15 and moving Hawthorne or Kuechly to SAM is even more of a pipe dream than I originally thought.

  10. 10 D3FB said at 3:00 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    Seattle has way more needs than just an LB. Especially after they hit on KJ Wright in the fourth last year I would definitely see their FO thinking they could do it again.

  11. 11 GermanEagle said at 5:52 AM on March 5th, 2012:

    It looks like that the benchmarks for Shady’s and Desean’s contract will be set soon.

    After Lynch signed a 7.5m/year contract with 18 Mio guaranteed Stevie Johnson is on the verge of re-signing with the Bills. Both players seem to be comparable to the Eagles star RB und WR…

  12. 12 Sjampen said at 7:23 AM on March 5th, 2012:

    Shady will get a bigger contract than Lynch. Not only is he a couple of years younger and a level above Lynch, but he is nowhere near the head case and have shown 100 % professional behavior his entire career. I think your right that both sides will look at Lynch contract, but the situations aren’t alike.

    Stevie Johnson and DeSean are weird. Stevie Johnson has only posted to good years, but looks like he continues on that track while DeSean seems to go the other way. Plus the fact that Johnson posted almost as many touchdowns as DeSean in basically half the years, even though DeSean is the far better deep threat. And both players suffer from a case of the dropsies.

  13. 13 brza said at 8:49 AM on March 5th, 2012:

    Arian Foster reportedly just signed a 5 year deal. Unfortunately I think that will be the benchmark for McCoy’s contract.
    But I do think Desean should use Stevie Johnson’s contract as a goal rather than Fitzgerald. But with Rosenhaus you never know.

  14. 14 brza said at 9:48 AM on March 5th, 2012:

    Stevie Johnson signed a five-year, $36.25 million deal that includes $19.5 million gtd and over $24 million in deal’s first three years.

    Thats exactly the type of deal Desean should get. Hopefully the Eagles can work something like that out with DJax. If he won’t accept something similar to Johnson then I think there’s no way he is around in 2013.

  15. 15 GermanEagle said at 9:54 AM on March 5th, 2012:

    I agree. Though it would be nice to see if the 19.5m are really guaranteed!

  16. 16 brza said at 11:21 AM on March 5th, 2012:

    Adam Schefter reports:
    Texans and Arian Foster reached agreement on a five-year, $43.5 million deal that includes $20.75 million guaranteed.

    That may be tough for the Eagles to match when extending Shady. Although I think Shady should definitely be worth more than Desean.

  17. 17 Eric Weaver said at 11:37 AM on March 5th, 2012:

    The Eagles will most likely argue that Shady has been paid more than Foster up to this point too.

  18. 18 austinfan said at 9:25 AM on March 5th, 2012:

    Tommy, what’s your take on Brandon Brooks of Ohio. He actually had a better workout than Poe at his pro day at the same size – we’re talking a 290 lb type workout at 346 lbs. He’s athletic enough for Mudd with the body of a uber-mauler. Looked good at the East West Shrine game. But can he play?

  19. 19 Gregory Post said at 4:17 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    Thoughts on Monte Simmons, the former practice squad LB from the 49ers? Obviously a training camp/practice squad body and probably won’t make the team, but where does he fit in the defense?