Cards meet with rising cornerback at Combine

Amberly Richardson caught up with Rod Graves at this year's NFL Combine, where the general manager reported he would like to "bolster that (cornerback) group with a little more young talent." reports who Graves targeted in Indianapolis and breaks down how this hot prospect would fit in with the Cardinals.

The Cardinals met with cornerback Terrell Thomas out of USC at the NFL Combine. Thomas is most comfortable playing press coverage at the line, but his alma mater played a lot of man coverage and zone. His 6'1" frame is advantage against the smaller receivers, but his strength lies in his long wing span and speed.

Thomas put a lot of emphasis on the 40-yard dash results.

"You need to find a way to separate yourself and that's the No. 1 thing to do," Thomas said.

His goal was to run a 4.3-second 40-yard dash, but he ran a 4.49 instead.

Teams are concerned over the reconstructive surgeries Thomas had on both shoulders (2003 and 2007), but Thomas said there are no lingering effects and his faith closes that chapter.

"God told me I am done with the knives, so I'm done with my injuries," he said.

He also suffered a knee injury in 2005 that was the result of a questionable shot that sidelined him for all but two games that season.

What didn't kill Thomas made him stronger.

"It made me grow as a person, it built character and it humbled me as a football player to know that everything you work for can be taken away and to never take anything for granted," Thomas said. "It also makes you work harder because when you come back from an injury you want to come back 100 percent, a lot stronger and a lot faster."

Thomas missed a lot of valuable playing time, but the Cardinals scouts were interested in Thomas for the lock-down defense he brought his senior year. In 13 games, he compiled 45 tackles (4.5 for losses), a team-high four picks and a team-best seven deflections.

A lot of Thomas' skills were chalked up to practicing against Matt Leinart.

"It was hard to deflect Matt's passes," Thomas said. "He was a great college quarterback and is great in the NFL, too. In college, he was sometimes untouchable. You'd be in perfect position, but somehow he'd find a way to put the ball in. We had great wide receivers who would also find a way to catch the ball. It made me a better player."

Thomas hopes the preparations were enough to get him to a team's training camp. Once there, he plans to spend his time studying.

"First just get in the books because I am going to be behind already," Thomas said. "I need to make sure I'm not messing up out there so I don't lose reps. Secondly, just using my athletic ability and working on my foot work."

If Thomas can put it all together, he has the ability to make the Cardinals secondary follow suit.

Amberly Richardson is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a correspondent for She has contributed to the official Web sites of several NFL players for Sixthman Communications.

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