The Eagles signed Walter Thurmond this offseason when they needed depth and competition at cornerback.
But then that spot got crowded, so he had a choice.
After the Eagles drafted three corners, Thurmond had a decision to make, and he took the move inside to safety.
“I chose to go to the safety because of the defense we play — there’s going to be a lot of opportunities to make plays on the ball,” Thurmond said, via Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “They felt confident in me to be able to move to that position.”
Despite playing his first five years as a corner, Thurmond has an easier path to the field this way, as the Eagles are looking for someone to replace Nate Allen and pair with Malcolm Jenkins. They drafted Eric Rowe, JaCorey Shepherd, and Randall Evans to add cornerback depth, so Thurmond was given the option.
“I looked at it as a situation [in which] we have some great corners, just drafted three corners, Nolan [Carroll] is going to have a big year this year . . . and [Byron] Maxwell as well,” Thurmond said. “Being familiar with this defense and playing it in college, there’s a lot of opportunities to make plays — especially at the safety position. That was one of the reasons. I think it just gives us the best opportunity to compete.”
Having the Oregon background with coach Chip Kelly helps, because he has familiarity with the scheme.
“He’s always around the ball,” Kelly said. “I think he’s had a lot of experience playing nickel, so he’s been an inside guy. He can see things. He’s very intelligent. He’s an intuitive football player. He is the first guy out of that corner mix that is getting a shot at inside.”
And while it’s a switch that many corners are unwilling to make — since it carries the implication that they’re not as physically gifted as perhaps they used to be — it’s going to give Thurmond more of a chance to play, which is what most players want regardless of position.