By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
ASHBURN, Va. -- Bakersfield High graduate Phillip Thomas signed a rookie contract with the Washington Redskins, the team announced Friday.
Thomas, a safety who starred at Fresno State, led major college football with eight interceptions last season. An All-American, he was the 119th overall selection in last month's NFL draft. He sat out the 2011 season with a broken left leg and dislocated ankle.
Terms of his deal were not announced. However, according to The Washington Post's website, his contract will be of similar worth to that of Redskins linebacker Keenan Robinson (last season's 119th overall pick), who signed a four-year, $2.5 million deal that came with a $420,000 signing bonus.
Washington now has signed six of the seven players it drafted, including second-round draft pick David Amerson (a cornerback who also signed Friday), safety Bacarri Rambo, linebacker Brandon Jenkins, and running backs Chris Thompson and Jawan Jamison.
Thomas is expected to compete for a starting job, according to The Washington Post. Brandon Meriweather -- last year's starter at strong safety -- is rehabbing a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. Last year's starting free safety, Madieu Williams, is no longer with the team. Veterans Reed Doughty, DeJon Gomes and Jordan Pugh also aim to compete for the starting free safety job.
"I actually thought he was a second or at worst third-round guy," Sports Illustrated's Don Banks told Redskins.com about Thomas. "He's a guy that could very easily surface as a starter at some point early in the season.
"I thought he was a solid second-round type guy, and I saw a number of other people who kind of agreed."
Thomas was the first player from Bakersfield drafted since West High's Ryan Mathews went No. 12 overall to the San Diego Chargers in 2010. Thomas was a running quarterback on the 2005 Drillers team that won the Central Section Division I title.