Summer Showdown: Brandon King v. Thad Turner

When Colts third round pick Kevin Thomas suffered what could be a season-ending knee injury at the Colts mini-camp, the door opened wide for undrafted free agents Brandon King of Purdue and Thad Turner of Ohio.  Even if seventh round pick Ray Fisher works out defensively, one of the undrafted free agents will be in a position to make the roster.

Brandon King started at corner back and safety since his sophomore season at Purdue.  Over the span of 35 games he collected 122 tackles, five tackles for a loss, five interceptions, 19 passes defended, 14 pass break-ups, and two forced fumbles.

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At just shy of 5-foot 10-inches tall and 194 pounds, King is another relatively small prospect for the Colts secondary.  He also lacks elite athleticism and corner speed, posting a 4.53 second 40-yard dash, a 36-inch vertical leap, and a broad jump just shy of 10-foot.

The early word out of Indianapolis, though, is that King impressed the coaching staff at the rookie mini-camp.  Beyond that, his three years of starting experience competing against competition like Michigan, Ohio State, and Iowa surely increase the likelihood the King is a relatively polished prospect compared to some of his camp competition.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=2fbc–oRfzM

King does have a reputation for playing well in man coverage and has shown the propensity to lay a big hit, as seen in the video above.  If he can come in an play faster on the field than his timed speed, which he was known for doing in college, and also make up for his small size through sound play, he could end up cracking the roster and contributing as a nickel role in 2010.

Another key undrafted prospect for the Colts is Thad Turner out of Ohio.  In his two years as a starter (16 games), Turner tallied 97 tackles, two tackles for a loss, two interceptions, 12 pass break-ups, and one fumble recovery.

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Turner brings more size and athleticism to the field than King, standing just shy of 5-foot 11-inches tall and 188 pounds, he ran a 4.51 second 40-yard dash, posted a 41-inch vertical leap, and a 10-foot 3-inch broad jump.  Of course, playing in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) is not playing against the level of competition King did while at Purdue, so it is safe to assume that there could be a bit more of a transition for Turner to NFL caliber athletes.

Still, the National Football Post has given him a relatively strong scouting report, identifying him as a physical corner who is comfortable playing close to receivers, but who also displays a tendency to give a bit too much cushion to receivers who release inside.  If he can learn to cut down on these mistakes and showcase his athleticism he may be able to make up for his inferior experience and a lower level of competition.

It is very clear from this video that Turner is also not afraid of laying a big hit.

It will be interesting to watch as Turner and King attempt to distinguish themselves from the other defensive backs in camp, and how they manage to distinguish themselves from one another.

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