The Indianapolis Colts made some surprising moves in the minds of some experts on draft day, and their selecting Bob Sanders was one of them.
As for the selection of Sanders, a player they said the team had targeted in the days leading up to the draft, GM Bill Polian and Head Coach Tony Dungy agreed that the move should allow the Colts to keep second-year defensive back Donald Strickland at cornerback. It will also give veteran Idrees Bashir a quality backup at free safety.
"We're very thrilled to have him," Polian said of the former Hawkeye second-team All-America selection. "Think (former Colts safety) Jason Belser with Marvin Harrison speed. He is recovering from a stress fracture to his navicular bone (foot), which occurred early last season. He played the entire season on the foot.
"Our foot doctor, Dr. (Dave) Porter, has gone over of it twice, including a very recent (magnetic resonance imaging test) which showed that the healing process is going forward on schedule and has every expectation that he will be fine and ready to go. As a precautionary measure, and as precautionary measure only, Dr. Porter wants him in a healing boot for about six weeks so he won't have any mini-camp or summer school on the field. But he should be raring to go come training camp."
Expected to be anywhere from a late first round to an early second round selection, Sanders' foot injury may have kept other teams from investing a high draft pick. But Polian doesn't mind.
"(The foot injury was) the reason he fell as far as he did. He's a first-round player. But the injury was the reason that he was available down where he was," the Colts' CEO said. "We're absolutely thrilled to get him. We think he's going to add a great deal of punch and physicality and excitement to our defense.
Sanders will get the first chance among the members of this year's Colts draft class to show what he can do. Sanders can play either free or strong safety and will be counted on to provide backup help to starter Idrees Bashir. A physical player with outstanding speed, Sanders could give the Colts some much-needed toughness against the run from the secondary.