Colts Grab USC Corner in Third Round

For the second year in a row, Bill Polian bucked conventional wisdom with his third-round pick, drafting a cornerback that may initially look like a bit of a reach. But Polian struck paydirt with Jerraud Powers last spring. Did he do the same with Kevin Thomas?

Thomas was just the 35th-ranked cornerback by, while the eighth-ranked corner, Brandon Ghee of Wake Forest, went two picks later to Cincinnati. Thomas was ranked by as the 324th player overall.

But Polian often knows what he's doing as the Draft moves into the later rounds, as he proved last year with Powers. Powers was ranked 27th at his position last season and 252nd overall, but he quickly carved out a role as the team's third corner, and when Marlin Jackson went down with an injury, stepped right into the starting lineup as a rookie.

"He's a really good cover corner, and plays a lot like [Jacob] Lacey, although [Thomas] is taller and has good long arms, a really good pass defender," Polian said. "This was another need we felt we had to fill in terms of depth on the defensive side and we felt good about doing it."

Coach Jim Caldwell, for his part, liked the versatility he sees in Thomas.

"From a schematic standpoint, he certainly does have a pass defense skill-set," he said. "He can play man-to-man, which is something we've played a little more of than we have in the past. He a guy that can walk up and pressure you a bit and play some bump-and-run. He's got good hips, good hands, and I think he's going to be able to help us."

Polian stressed that getting defensive players is a priority in the early round of the draft because of how the Colts value athleticism.

"If you like a defensive player, you think he can help your team, you better get him in the early rounds because they're not going to last," he said.

Read a recap of Thomas' Pro Day here

Watch film of his Pro Day workout.

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