Chargers Prospect Analysis: D-Backs, Part II

Jaime Cattano continues her three-part series analyzing the defensive backs the Chargers held private meetings with during Senior Bowl week. As the Combine inches closer, this next prospect is eager to prove his sizable frame won't hinder his plastering coverage against top receivers. His talent at multiple positions may make him a Charger this April.

The Chargers coaching staff summoned CB Terrell Thomas (6'0", 200 pounds) of USC for a private meeting during Senior Bowl week. The Bolts walked away seeing a green light, impressed by Thomas' size and productivity.

Named second team All-Pac-10 for the second consecutive year, Thomas ended his senior season with the Trojans with 45 tackles, four interceptions and a team-high seven deflections. His three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery helped lead a Trojans secondary that allowed only nine touchdown passes in 2007.

Thomas' physical style of play grabbed the attention of other scouts during Senior Bowl week. He held private meetings with coaches from the Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, New England Patriots, Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons.

A hot topic during those meetings was Thomas' medical history. He endured three surgeries during his collegiate career -- both shoulders and his right knee -- but bounced back to the top of his game after each injury. After undergoing surgery on a dislocated left shoulder less than a year ago, he is pleased with both his recovery and his performance in Mobile, Ala.

"I think I played pretty well and have been able to show a lot of stops out there," Thomas said. "I was able to play against some of the smaller receivers. Since I'm a big corner, it's important that I prove I can do that to the coaches."

Thomas plays well in both man and zone coverage and is an extremely effective two-way defender. While he has fluid hips and a nippy change of direction, he was excited that the San Francisco 49ers coaching staff helped his amp up his game at the Senior Bowl.

"They were teaching us various techniques from different leverages to body movements. The coaches are out here helping us add to our game," he said.

With the anticipated shuffling of the Chargers lineup, Thomas might be a new piece to consider. He plays a fierce corner, and his reckless abandon and unyielding body allow him to play both safety positions, as well.

With CB Drayton Florence scheduled for unrestricted free agency, there will be an opening for a player of Thomas' ilk in the secondary.

The man many expected to replace Florence, Paul Oliver, never left the inactive list after being picked up in the supplemental draft. The coaches have since steered towards training Oliver for the dime-back spot (assuming Eric Weddle supplants Marlon McCree in the starting lineup). That would leave the nickel-back job up for grabs, with no in-house candidate more qualified than Thomas.

If this is the direction the Bolts are heading, Thomas' hunger and capacity to play at dual positions could force both Oliver and Weddle to raise their games. The dime back is typically a hybrid defender, which fits Thomas to a T.

Thomas is confident he would be an asset to the Chargers.

"I'm a playmaker, a team leader and a hard worker. I will do whatever it takes on the field," he said.

While his history of injuries might be a negating factor, the Bolts see only usefulness with his size, stamina and athleticism. The Bolts will use the Combine to better determine Thomas' true value.

Thomas' 40-yard-dash has been clocked unofficially in the high 4.4's, but the Combine will give him the opportunity to squash any shilly-shallying the Bolts may be feeling and to move one step closer to resuming his career in-state.

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