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Thornton A Project For Colts

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The Colts line just got a bit bigger with the addition of versatile developmental lineman Hugh Thornton. Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images.
The Colts line just got a bit bigger with the addition of versatile developmental lineman Hugh Thornton. Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images.

After addressing their biggest need in round one of the NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts went after another glaring weakness with the 86th pick Friday night. The Colts took Hugh Thornton of Illinois, a prospect projected to play guard in the NFL. Thornton also started 17 games at tackle during his collegiate career, so he will be a little versatile.

Here are some thoughts on the pick.

  • Not only did the Colts address an area of need, but they did it with the right type of player. Thornton is a nasty player that will fit perfectly in the Colts new offensive system. OC Pep Hamilton wants a physical, pounding running game and Thornton is that type of guard.
  • This seems to be a bit of a reach based on the many draftnik’s rankings, but GM Ryan Grigson said he thought Thornton would be long gone by the time the 86th pick rolled around. He even considered trading up to grab him, but couldn’t because of the Colts lack of draft picks.
  • Grigson was obviously in love with this guy. He said the entire Colts’ staff was high on Thornton since August and thought he dominated at the Senior Bowl. The fact that Grigson has been so high on Thornton should make Colts fans feel comfortable with the selection.
  • But…I can’t help but wonder why the Colts didn’t go after center Brian Schwenke from California. As the second best center in the draft, he would have been a steal at this point. Guard and center are both big needs, but center is a bigger one, considering incumbent starter at guard Mike McGlynn is a better than starting center Samson Satele.
  • The biggest red flag with Thornton is off of the field, as he’s had some run-ins with the law. While the Colts don’t have very many veterans along the offensive line, there is plenty of leadership on the roster to hopefully keep him out of trouble.
  • Fun fact – Thornton was a two-time Idaho heavyweight state champion in wrestling. Also, he was recruited to Illinois by Joe Gilbert, the new offensive line coach.
  • Overall, another solid pick for Grigson and the Colts. They filled another big need and did so with the perfect type of player for the new running scheme. If he can stay out of trouble, he’ll be a starter within the next year or two.