Chiefs Go Defense With Second Selection, Taking S Juan Thornhill

Dec 29, 2018; Charlotte, NC, USA; Virginia Cavaliers safety Juan Thornhill (21) returns an interception in the fourth quarter against South Carolina Gamecocks wide receiver Chavis Dawkins (83) in the 2018 Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The remaking of the Chiefs' defense continued in the second round of the 2019 NFL draft, with the Chiefs selecting Virginia safety Juan Thornill.

The 6-foot, 205-pound Thornhill earned first-team All-ACC honors as a senior last season, collecting 98 tackles including four and a half for a loss with six interceptions and 13 passes defensed.

Thornhill joins a crowded and retooled Chiefs safety group. With Eric Berry and Eric Murray gone, Thornhill joins free agent Tyrann Mathieu as the new faces in the room. He will compete with veterans Daniel Sorensen, Jordan Lucas and Leon McQuay along with last year's fourth-round selection, Armani Watts. Watts ended last season on injured reserve.

Thornhill offers good speed — he posted a 4.42 40-yard time at the NFL Combine — but The Athletic's draft analyst Dane Brugler said he relies more on instincts.

"Thornhill is more smooth than sudden, which causes him to be a beat late at times," Brugler wrote, "but his instincts, field range and roster versatility are strong selling points, projecting as a high alignment safety who can walk down and cover slot receivers."

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