Last month, we reported that it would be a surprise if the Colts stood pat at the cornerback position, where experience is severely lacking behind incumbent starter Jerraud Powers, who missed the final four games last season after suffering a forearm fracture.
In the past two weeks, the Colts have traded for one cornerback, sending FB Chris Gronkowski to the Broncos in exchange for Cassius Vaughn, and reportedly inquired with the Cowboys about the services of disgruntled former first-rounder Mike Jenkins. The odds are slim that Jenkins moves before the season, but the likelihood of the Colts continuing to shuffle the CB deck remains strong.
One source on the scene explained GM Ryan Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano’s recent inquiries by simply stating that Kevin Thomas, who has been working with the first team in OTAs, doesn’t appear ready to step into the starting lineup. The source noted, referencing the release of 2010 fifth-round TE Brody Eldridge following the draft, that the new regime has absolutely no allegiances to former vice chairman Bill Polian’s guys. If Grigson and Pagano aren’t pleased with holdovers on the current roster, they will not hesitate to seek upgrades, as was the case with Eldridge being replaced by rookies Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen.
The jury is still out on Thomas — as well as a number of young Colts — but the acquisition of Vaughn is an encouraging sign on two fronts. Firstly, Vaughn has big-time ability as a special-teamer (37.2-yard career kickoff-return average), an area that was often largely ignored in the Polian era. Secondly, the Colts appear committed to not heading into the 2012 season in as large a state of flux in the secondary as they entered last year’s disastrous campaign.
It is unlikely the job opposite Powers will be won until later this summer, but the Colts have strengthened the depth of the unit by adding the speedy 24-year-old Vaughn, who started three games for the Broncos last season, as well as first-year player Korey Lindsey, formerly of the Cardinals.