In the 2022 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts used their final pick to select defensive back Rodney Thomas II in the seventh round. Not many people knew a lot about Thomas, aside from the fact that he was a versatile defender that went to Yale. The assumption was that Thomas would have the path of many seventh rounders: fight for a roster spot but ultimately end up cut after the preseason.
In reality, Thomas ended up becoming a starting safety for the Colts as a rookie, and was one of the team’s most consistent defenders. Now, in 2023, he’s still starting at safety for Indianapolis and is viewed as a seventh-round success story.
During the 2023 NFL Draft, Colts fans were hoping that Indy could get lucky again and land another late-round steal. 11 games into the season and it seems like Indy has done just that. Rookie cornerback Jaylon Jones, who was selected in the seventh round like Thomas, has been starting for Indianapolis and actually playing some really good football.
Jaylon Jones looks like a draft steal for the Colts
Indianapolis drafted three corners in 2023 and Jones was the third one picked. However, he is having the most productive rookie season of the three. JuJu Brents, who was selected in the second round, was playing well but he has missed several games with an injury. Darius Rush, who was drafted in the fifth round, didn’t make the 53-man roster after being outperformed by Jones.
After a few injuries and poor play from other corners, Jaylon Jones was thrown into the starting lineup. Now, entering Week 13, he has started five games, recording 22 tackles and two pass deflections. He has been targeted 36 times on the season, giving up just 177 yards and two touchdowns.
After an impressive training camp from Jaylon Jones, general manager Chris Ballard shouted out the scout responsible for Jones being drafted, and raved about Jones, saying his future in the league is extremely bright. The circumstances of the season forced Jones on to the field quicker than expected but the rookie has been able to handle himself. It now looks like the Colts have a solid young secondary, thanks to some seventh-round steals.