Day 1 option
Juan Thornhill, Virginia (Sr.) (6-foot, 200 pounds)
I don’t believe any of the safeties in this draft are safe enough to take with the 12th overall pick, especially with the top-tier talent at other positions of need that should be around at pick 12. But there a couple of safeties I have late first-round grades on for when the Packers’ 30th overall pick rolls around, which would be Thornhill and Nasir Adderley.
If I had my choice of which safety to take with the 30th overall pick, it would be my top-ranked safety in the 2019 draft, Juan Thornhill, senior safety out of Virginia.
Thornhill was a huge part of Virgnia’s defense, racking up 98 tackles, six interceptions, and seven pass breakups in his senior season. Over three seasons at Virginia, he totaled a very impressive 13 interceptions and 26 pass breakups.
The interception and pass-breakup numbers show you the type of ball-hawk safety that Thornhill is. He was converted from cornerback to safety and it certainly shows in his coverage and ball skills. As a matter of fact, I would say Thornhill is the most skilled cover safety in the entire draft.
He would become the jackknife of Pettine’s defense, as he could line up all over the field and play all over the field effectively. He could lineup at free safety, up in the slot on a tight end or receiver, he can play up in the box, and could maybe even play on the outside at cornerback in a pinch.
On top of being a ball-hawking safety, Thornhill doesn’t mind coming downhill and laying a big hit either. He is a sure tackler who will pop you if given the opportunity. Thornhill possesses all of the traits the Packers have been missing at the safety position for quite some time.