The other strong safety to watch in Saturday’s Senior Bowl is Juan Thornhill, out of the University of Virginia. The 6-foot-1 Thornhill checks in at 195 pounds and is a bot more of a ball-hawk than Abram. Last year at Virginia, in a very competitive ACC, Thornhill recorded six interceptions and had another seven passes defended. He finished with 98 total tackles (62 solo tackles), both of which were a huge jump from his previous season.
Thornhill is not necessarily considered a very physical player — which is not really what you want to see in your strong safety. He doesn’t shy away from contact but just doesn’t play with the kind of physicality to drive through the ball-carrier.
Again, with a player like Eddie Jackson patrolling the secondary and allowing his secondary mates to take more chances, the Bears need a player to complement that style of play.
He is fairly serviceable in coverage and won’t get overly exposed, but it would also not be considered one of his strengths. Where Thornhill makes his living is from the neck up.
He’s a very smart player who thrives on studying tape and route recognition. That’s good news, since some of the other things, like technique in coverage, can be taught. And hopefully, with a good conditioning program, he can learn to become a little more physical at the point of contact.