The Eagles weren't content with signing just one former Seattle cornerback this offseason. After rewarding Byron Maxwell with a huge contract early in free agency, Philadelphia then turned their attention to former Giants and Seahawks defensive back Walter Thurmond.
Unlike Maxwell, Thurmond only signed a short-term contract. The Oregon alumnus has dealt with his share of injuries in the NFL. In 2014, he suffered a season-ending pectoral injury after appearing in just two games with the G-Men.
It'll be interesting to see how Thurmond fits in Philadelphia. He has experience playing in the slot but the Eagles already have Brandon Boykin for that role. Will the Eagles use him on the outside to start opposite of Maxwell? Danny Kelly (@FieldGulls) from Field Gulls along with Ed Valentine (@Valentine_Ed) from Big Blue View are able to give us some insight on Philly's new cornerback. The first three questions feature responses from Danny while the last two are from Ed.
1) What was the reaction like when he left Seattle last year to sign with the Giants?
Seahawks fans pretty much assumed he’d get a shot elsewhere, and were generally happy for him when he did. The Hawks were stacked at the position and while he’d played well in his fourth season in Seattle, he had a very hard time staying healthy (and he also got suspended for weed). So, fans assumed the Seahawks would concentrate their resources on more reliable players. I think that Thurm’s a great flier but if you’re really depending on him to stay healthy, it’s a big risk. I think the Eagles probably view him as a low-cost gamble that could really pay off well if he can stay on the field. That’s how I’d look at it if I were an Eagles fan.
2) What are his biggest/strengths weaknesses?
He can play inside or out, he’s fast and long-levered. He can mirror in coverage and has good makeup speed. He’s good at locating the ball in the air, and he’s feisty and competitive. He has the capability to be a playmaker, but again, he just kept getting hurt in Seattle so he never really developed into what the team had hoped he would. He then got hurt again last year in New York.
3) It’s unclear exactly how he fits in the Philadelphia defense because the Eagles already have Brandon Boykin as their nickel cornerback. Can Thurmond be effective on the outside?
Yeah — he’s got a crazy long wingspan (same wingspan as Richard Sherman) and has the skill-set to play outside. He is a great depth player for that reason — he can play both inside in the slot, where I think he’s most comfortable, but he can also play outside in a pinch and you’re not going to be terrified about it. He also has some return capability, in theory. Though that’s a little risky with his injury history.
4) How were Giants using Thurmond before he got hurt? Outside cornerback? Nickel cornerback? Both? How did he perform?
He was in the slot. He also did some work on the outside, where he is perfectly capable of playing, and was probably the primary backup out there.
2) Did Giants fans want the team to keep him or were they OK with letting him walk?
Yes, Giants fans (and, more importantly the Giants) wanted to keep him. He's a good player. Problem is he is hurt ALL the time. He's played in only 36 of 80 potential regular-season games. Giants didn't want to shell out another $3 million for nothing.