It's my nature to immediately dislike a guy from USC, as I haven't been impressed with too many guys from there in the NFL, and I went to school in South Bend. However, I'm starting to warm to non-skill position players from Trojan land, and I think the Colts did all right with CB Kevin Thomas.
Forget the fact that nobody talked about him before the draft. I went back and watched some game highlights, and looked at some numbers, and I think he'll fit the Colts new scheme on defense, which may include more man-to-man than we're used to seeing from the Colts (according to Coach Caldwell). Here's some numbers:
He played mostly Nickel as a Junior, and (from looking at highlights) seemed to play Left CB last season, as the starter. He had over 4 tackles / game, which seems high for a CB, but it makes sense. Teams were able to move the ball throwing it against USC last year, and a good chunk of it was to TEs. Thomas wasn't covering them, but helped on the tackle (23 were assists). The high number also tells you that when the WR does make the catch, Thomas can bring him down. No CB will be able to defend every pass, so they absolutely need to be able to tackle. I think Thomas can do that.
The lack of INTs is a little worrisome, but the extremely high number of pass deflections makes up for it. It's hard to tell whether he'd have more INTs if he was in better position, but the fact that, even if he was out of position, he came back and at least broke the play up, is a good sign. Here's some highlights, mostly pass break-ups. It looks like he's in good position, and not trying to catch the ball.
See how Thomas did against various WRs last season after the jump...
These numbers should be taken with a grain of salt, as they aren't exact by any means. These are stats from the teams' best WR, even though Thomas may not have been covering him the entire game. TDs in Red are the ones Thomas was not responsible for.
|DeVier Posey||Ohio St.||6||81||13.5||13.8||0|
|James Rodgers||Oregon St.||7||56||8.0||11.4||1|
Overall these are pretty good, and I believe shows improvement over the course of the season. Golden Tate beat him for 1 of his 2 TDs: A skinny post from about the 15 yard line. It was clearly zone coverage, and Taylor Mays was late getting there to help, and Tate scored. Sure there's some fault to Thomas for giving him that much room, but it looked like he had outside coverage, and Tate went inside.
One of the other TDs, to ASU's Chris McGaha, it looked like he got caught looking at the QB, when the QB was looking to the other side of the field. I understand in college QBs don't do that as often in the NFL, but he better not get caught doing that again, as it is inexcusable. I'm sure Pete Carroll pointed this out to him.
I also didn't include the bowl game against BC, because he played the whole game, and had just one pass deflection and no tackles. It seems they just avoided him at all costs, which is (usually) a sign of a good CB. Teams don't throw at Revis or Asamugha. I'll take this as a good sign.
He looks like a good fit for the Colts, picked around where some thought he would be, after his workouts:
Thomas' Combine performance also showed scouts he has NFL-caliber athleticism (4.41-second 40-yard dash, 19 bench reps at 225 pounds, excellent shuttle times). If team doctors write off the injuries he had early in his USC career, there's no reason to think Thomas can't be a top 100 pick.
He went 94 overall. I hope he turns out like the last CB the Colts drafted that nobody had heard of. Here's to the real death of the 3rd round curse.