With Kevin Thomas in Philadelphia, the starting cornerback slot opposite Jerraud Powers is now wide open. Two of the chief competitors for that spot are two veterans who are hoping that Indianapolis becomes the place where their careers blossomed.
Cassius Vaughn is a competitor. In 2010, he made the Denver Broncos roster despite being undrafted. He made a splash on special teams as a rookie with a kick return for a touchdown. In 2011 he got some time at cornerback and made the most of it, picking off San Diego’s Philip Rivers and returning the ball 55 yards for a score.
A broken fibula sidelined Vaughn for the end of 2011, and stuck behind veteran corners Champ Bailey and Andre Goodman, he became expendable. Now, he hopes to bring his experience from Denver to help a young and rebuilding Colts’ defense.
“Playing behind Champ (Bailey) and Andre Goodman, it was a very limited chance, but I got a lot of experience I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else. I just hope to bring some of that here.”
Vaughn loves his new home in Indianapolis as well as the new opportunity for NFL success. He realizes he’s not the most notable player who switched between Denver and Indianapolis this off season, but he thinks he got a great deal nonetheless.
“I love it here, man. It’s nice…I know we’re both (he and Peyton Manning) happy about our situations. I know I’m very happy about mine.”
Justin King wasn’t so much stuck behind veterans in St. Louis as he was stuck with an injury bug. He missed his entire rookie season in 2008 with a foot injury suffered in preseason. Last season, he was part of a decimated St. Louis secondary that spent more time in the training room than on the field. King was starting for the Rams when a shoulder injury ended his season prematurely in December.
King is also excited about his new opportunity. Originally a fourth round pick in 2008 by St. Louis, the former Penn State star is happy to still be in the Midwest.
“I love Indianapolis. It’s a lot like St. Louis, just more compact.”
King offers some unique insight on Colts rookie quarterback Andrew Luck as well, having been in St. Louis to see the development of their first overall draft pick in 2010, Sam Bradford.
“There’s a lot of similarities. You know, they’re young and going to make some bad reads, but he (Luck) is ahead of the curve, just like Sam was. He ended up being rookie of the year, so…”
For King, this football camp opens with a heavy heart. Like all Penn State alums, he’s quite shaken over the events at his alma mater over the past year. He said he particularly feels bad for new head coach Bill O’Brien and the “good people who are still there.”
King was held out of practice at the end of last week with a minor hip flexor injury, which King viewed as “precautionary.” He’ll be back on the practice field this week. That’s good news for him as he and Cassius Vaughn figure to be locked in battle for a starting spot at cornerback.
Chuck Chapman is entering his second season as the editor and lead writer for Colts 101. He also covered the Cincinnati Bengals for the Sports Media 101. Chuck and his family are originally from Ohio, but have settled in Central Indiana and become big Colts fans. You can read Chuck’s other writing about the Colts at www.colts101.com.
Tags: Andrew Luck, Cassius Vaughn, Justin King
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