The third round has been the lone weak spot in Bill Polian's normally stellar drafting over his Indianapolis tenure, with recent busts like Quinn Pitcock (2007), Vincent Burns (2005), Ben Hartsock and Gilbert Gardner (2004).
The Colts appeared to turn around the string of bad luck with the selection of linebacker Philip Wheeler in the third round in 2008, but the selection of Jerraud Powers is a bit of a head-scratcher at this point in the draft.
Powers runs during his Pro Day
He's the 27th-ranked cornerback in Scout.com's rankings and the 252nd-ranked player overall. At just 5-feet-9 and 184 pounds, he joins Tim Jennings, Travis Key, T.J. Rushing, Brandon Foster and Dante Hughes as Colts' corners at 5-feet-10 or shorter.
But size isn't everything — just look at Bob Sanders. The Colts' defensive dynamo stands just 5-feet-8, yet is one of the league's most feared safeties and was the NFL's defensive player of the year in 2007.
A good offset to a lack of size is speed, and Powers has plenty of it. He ran a 4.47 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine and followed that up with a pair of 4.4s at his Pro Day.
He was plagued by injuries in 2008, missing two games, but making 47 total tackles and two interceptions. In 2007, however, he made 63 total tackles with nine for losses and made four interceptions. For his efforts he was the Tigers' 2007 defensive player of the year.
While he doesn't appear to be a player that could challenge Kelvin Hayden or Marlin Jackson for a starting spot, Powers certainly has the speed and the ball skills to compete for a spot in the secondary rotation with Jennings and Hughes, who have all been underwhelming and inconsistent during their Colts careers.
If he can show the coverage skills that those three players lack at times, he could find himself on the field for the Colts next fall or in 2010.
The question is, will he be able to distinguish himself from those other players? His speed is certainly an asset. But if he can't show something those other mid-rounders do, he could find himself stuck on the bench.
At the least, it should make for an interesting cornerback competition in the preseason. But if Powers fails to show the skills that come with the expectations of an early second-day pick, he could be labeled as another third-round miss for Polian and the Colts — and fans could be left wondering who they could have had, or if Powers could have been added later in the draft.
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