CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia senior safety Juan Thornhill (Altavista, Va.) was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs during Friday’s second round of the National Football League Draft. Thornhill was the 63rd overall pick and the first safety drafted out of Virginia since Anthony Poindexter was taken by the Baltimore Ravens in the seventh round, 216th overall, in 1999.
Thornhill is the first Cavalier drafted by the Chiefs since 2008 when offensive lineman Branden Albert was taken in the first round. Thornhill is the sixth Cavalier all-time to be drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs. Thornhill is UVA’s highest draft pick since Ras-I Dowling was selected in the second round, 33rd overall, by the New England Patriots in 2011.
Thornhill finished the 2018 season No. 3 in the nation and No. 3 in the ACC with six interceptions. He set a UVA single-season record for interception return yards with 141 and led Virginia with 98 tackles. Thornhill was a first-team All-ACC honoree, an honorable mention All-American by College Football News and named to the Associated Press All-Bowl team. Thornhill started in the Senior Bowl and participated in the NFL Combine. He was named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week after making six tackles and intercepting two passes against No. 16 Miami. Thornhill also recorded 4.5 tackles for loss, blocked a PAT and returned it for a two-point score. He leaves UVA tied for No. 6 all-time at UVA with 13 career interceptions, sharing the spot with Chase Minnifield (2008-11). Thornhill helped spearhead a UVA secondary in 2018 that finished No. 12 in the nation in passing efficiency defense (107.62), No. 16 in passing yards allowed (183.0) and No. 20 in both team defense (330.5) and scoring defense (20.1).