Washington Redskins: Why Phillip Thomas Is the Savior of Their Secondary

Dilan AmesCorrespondent IApril 28, 2013

Courtesy of Getty.
Courtesy of Getty.

Going into the NFL draft, the Washington Redskins had a few different needs, but a glaring hole in their secondary prompted them to target a few defensive backs. 

They used their first pick of the draft on cornerback David Amerson and later drafted safeties Phillip Thomas and Bacarri Rambo

Now, Amerson and Rambo were great value picks, but Thomas is clearly the best of the three, overall. 

He is an impact player who can make plays when his team needs it most. 

In his last season at Fresno State, Thomas tallied 84 tackles as well as eight interceptions and four sacks; pretty comparable numbers to this year’s top safety Kenny Vaccaro (87 tackles, zero sacks and two interceptions). 

Thomas’ individual ability is well-documented; he is a game-changer with a knack for big hits. 

Thomas played a Troy Polamalu-esque role in college; he was the guy who would come in at the end of the play and clean things up; he also played the ball effectively. 

His physicality is what really makes him special; he can come down in the box and play against the run along with rush the passer. He possesses the speed to not only cover receivers but is also athletic enough to cover tight ends, which in and of itself is a great skill to have nowadays. 

Thomas is a well-rounded player overall but really shines in coverage; he is the definition of a ball hawk. He led the country in interceptions last year but was a lot more than that to the Fresno defense. 

He was a leader for the Bulldogs and brought out the best in his surrounding players, which is another reason why this pick was such a valuable one for Washington. 

They haven’t had a guy even remotely like Thomas since Sean Taylor, and they have missed that type of presence dearly. This is not to say that Thomas will be the same player Taylor was, but there are some parallels. 

Both were big hitters with great ball skills and certainly made life easier on their teammates. 

By adding Thomas, it will allow other players like DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson to take more chances when it comes to coverage. The Redskins will finally have a competent guy on the back end of their defense, so they can play more aggressively in coverage. 

If it weren’t for a leg injury in 2011, Thomas would’ve more than likely been a first- or second-round pick. 

The former college star was a great value selection in the fourth, and the Redskins may have found their starter for the next 10 years.