Top 22 Countdown: No. 17

We continue our countdown of the top 22 most important players to Texas' success in 2014. We'll run these every Tuesday and Thursday.

Here is a look at our previous selections:

No. 22.

No. 21.

No. 20.

No. 19.

No. 18.

Chip's Pick

CB Duke Thomas


5-11, 182

The junior had all spring to make an impression on Charlie Strong and the defensive coaches, and there were still some inconsistencies that need to be corrected.

Thomas has all the tools to be a top corner in the Big 12, but sometimes he misses on technique and details - such as when to play a receiver with inside or outside leverage - that lead to big plays given up.

But now's the time, or a player like Sheroid Evans, who is coming off injury, or even Mykkele Thompson could get action at corner that could impact Thomas' reps. Thomas has too much experience not to take a big step this season.

William's Pick

CB Duke Thomas


5-11, 182

This former high school quarterback is slowly coming into his own as one of the team's best defensive backs. But he's still got a ways to go before reaching his full potential.

Texas knows what it's going to get out of Quandre Diggs and so does the opposition, which means that Thomas will likely have more balls thrown his way than No. 6. He's got to step up to the challenge.

For the most part, Thomas did in 2013 by leading the team with three interceptions and tying for third with three pass breakups. He also had 50 tackles (32 solo).

If Thomas can't get the job done the Longhorns will be forced to rely on Sheroid Evans, who is coming off a leg injury, unproven Bryson Echols, or wet-behind-the-ears Antwuan Davis.

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