Biography: Three-year starter who led Southern Miss in tackles as a senior, posting 111 tackles/8.5 tackles for loss/1 sack, two interceptions and three pass breakups. Junior totals included 59 tackles. Had a career-best 114 tackles as a sophomore.
Positives: Productive college middle linebacker likely to shift to the outside at the next level. Breaks down well and works his hands to protect himself. Plays with good quickness, displays a terrific first step to the action and scrapes well laterally. Remains disciplined with assignments, takes good angles to the play and smooth moving in every direction. Fluid transitioning into coverage and gets terrific depth on drops. Makes the defensive calls and gets his teammates in proper position.
Negatives: Undersized and easily washed from plays by blocks. Not a strong wrap-up tackler.
Analysis: Thornton was a tackling machine at Southern Mississippi who also displayed the ability to make plays in space. He offers potential as a backup linebacker on the weak side and comes with a special teams mentality.
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