New England Patriots Draft Prospects: Philip Thomas, D.J. Swearinger


The New England Patriots probably won’t be picking a safety high in the 2013 NFL Draft, because they signed veteran strong safety Adrian Wilson to a three year deal. Still, stranger things have happened than the Patriots surprising us with a pick- just look at last year’s second-round safety selection in Tavon Wilson.

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Fresno State Bulldogs free safety Philip Thomas is an interesting prospect to look at, and Daniel Jeremiah believes that Thomas should be drafted in the Patriots range in the late second round of the draft or the early third round. Thomas, as Jeremiah notes, has excellent ball skills, but he is the worst tackling safety of anyone in this draft class. He racks up the MTs, but Thomas would fit in perfectly for a team that has a need for a safety who excels in deep coverage. The Patriots already have one of the best coverage safeties in the game in Devin McCourty, so they almost certainly won’t take Thomas.

D.J. Swearinger is a more intriguing option, and I’ve been touting him for a long time. The South Carolina Gamecocks strong safety has some coverage concerns, but sometimes those are overstated. He actually played at cornerback for a bit with South Carolina, but it is true that his biggest assets are his run defense and tackling ability. He is good enough to hold his own in coverage, but Swearinger is simply on another level elsewhere. He is the most explosive safety in this draft class, and he plays with a real viciousness and mean streak that reminds me of Brandon Spikes at the strong safety position.

Daniel Jeremiah views Swearinger as one of his favorite prospects in this draft class and tweeted this great nugget, “Watched another game on DJ Swearinger…He’s one of my favorites! He plays without brakes…always at his top speed and looking to hit someone.”

Swearinger is one of my favorite prospects too, and I think if the Pats draft a safety this year, it will be D.J. Swearinger. Mike Dussault of Pats Propaganda is also high on him and agrees that Swearinger would be a fit for the Pats in the second round of the draft.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.