Draft Exclusive 10: Mature Cornerback

The Packers need to bolster the cornerback position and they've shown plenty of interest in this high-character, three-year starter from the MAC.

From Greg Jennings to Cullen Jenkins to James Starks, the Green Bay Packers have found a gold mine in the Mid-American Conference.

Needing to upgrade their depth at cornerback, the Packers have taken a keen interest in cornerback Josh Thomas, a teammate of Starks at Buffalo. The Packers were at Buffalo's pro day on Thursday and used one of their formal interviews on Thomas at the Scouting Combine.

"I've been dreaming of this opportunity since I was a little boy," Thomas said at the Combine. "To be here, my dream is unfolding. My dream's going to be accomplished once I'm six years in the league and I've sustained a position. I really look forward to cracking a starting lineup. Champions are never satisfied and I'm a champion."

Nicknamed "Old Man" because of his wise-beyond-his-years level of maturity, Thomas was a three-year starter for the Bulls. His maturity comes from missionary trips he took in high school to Managua, Nicaragua, and Warsaw, Poland, where his eyes were opened to how the rest of the world lives.

"I was a servant and I gave back, and that really changed my outlook on life," he said. "In America, we're really blessed with what we have. When I got back, I figured that I need to separate myself from a lot of the distractions that were happening at home. I went to Buffalo and I found who I was as a person."

Wilson regularly was matched up on the opponent's top receiver in a pass-happy league, and while he finished with only two career interceptions, he ranks fifth in school history in passes defensed. While Wilson's height (5-foot-10 1/2) makes him a fringe candidate for the Packers, he has longer-than-average arms. Plus, the Packers will love Thomas' willingness to compete in the run game while playing in the slot.

"I'm aggressive and I'm not afraid to tackle," he said. "Every receiver in front of me will respect me. I have the ideal confidence as a corner. I go out there and compete. I didn't create many turnovers but I've showed that I can be explosive, I've shown that I can make the plays. I'm a guy that can play Cover-2 and be aggressive, and also play bump-and-run and man, put him on an island by himself."

The Packers have arguably the best trio of cornerbacks in the NFL with Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams and Sam Shields. But with Woodson having turned 34 in October and not quite as impactful on the ball, Green Bay must start planning for his eventual replacement. While Thomas isn't a front-line prospect, his talent and attitude will make him a possibility at the end of the fifth round to groom on defense and contribute immediately on special teams.

"I enjoy watching Tramon Williams," he said. "He has a great story and you can tell that he had a lot pinned against him when he wasn't drafted. Now, obviously with what he did, he's obviously respected. He has a good story with what it is he needed to prove."


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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