After going undrafted in 2011 NFL Draft, former Southern Arkansas standout defensive lineman Cedric Thronton has been playing with a chip on his shoulder ever since he entered the league.
Thornton was given his first shot in the NFL by former defensive line coach Jim Washburn who brought him to the Philadelphia Eagles, and Thornton has been grateful ever since. Now with Washburn out of the picture, Thornton is still out to prove that he can be a very effective defensive lineman in the NFL.
Thornton initially made the 53 man roster prior to the 2011 regular season, but was waived to make room for OG Kyle DeVan. The next day, the Eagles immediately signed Thornton to their practice squad and he was later promoted to the active roster later on in the season.
He has yet to put up solid numbers, but has been a solid defensive lineman when called upon. In his short NFL career, Thornton has been behind guys defensive tackles like Mike Patterson, Cullen Jenkins and Derek Landri. Now with all of those players gone, Thornton will certainly get his shot this upcoming season.
There’s not too much competition in front of him, which makes me believe he will be the week one starter. Players like Clifton Geathers, Vinny Curry and rookies Bennie Logan, Joe Kruger and David King all provide solid depth, but Thornton can certainly outperform these players for the defensive end spot in the new defensive scheme.
Now moving to a 3-4 defense, Thornton will be much more effective since he is playing in the same scheme he did in college. He has good size for the DE position- 6-foot-4, 310 pounds, and will be utilized a lot more this year. He has an incredible first step that enhances his pass rush along with brute strength to anchor down the defensive line on running plays.
Thornton should be used as a key component this season, and will soon make a name for himself around the league.
As we look ahead to the 2013 NFL season, we will most likely see Thornton starting the opposite of DE Fletcher Cox. Thornton and Cox can create a lot of damage as defensive ends in the new 3-4 scheme under defensive coordinator Billy Davis.
Another reason I believe Thornton will have a solid season is because this is his contract year. He realizes he needs to have a great season to get the contract he wants and if he can prove to the coaches that they have another young stud at DE, then the Eagles will certainly lock him up long-term.