Linebacker? Safety? Cornerback? Rodney Thomas II prides himself on doing it all as a defender.
Selected by the Indianapolis Colts Saturday in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft, Thomas II, who is officially being listed by the team as cornerback, will lean on that versatility as he navigates trying to make a name for himself within a deep and talented Indianapolis secondary heading into his rookie season.
"Anywhere I'm asked to play is my best fit," Thomas II told Colts.com's Larra Overton shortly after his selection by the team. "I've developed a nice skillset to be able to contribute to anything I'm asked to do, so I'm ready to get to work and help where I can, help where I'm asked to, for sure."
At Yale, Thomas II played in parts of 14 games his first two seasons before he started his ascent. In 2019, he started nine games at linebacker for the Bulldogs, earning All-Ivy League Honorable Mention accolades after finishing 11th in the conference interceptions (two), 14th in tackles for loss (7.0) and 15th in pass breakups (five).
His move to safety was delayed a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but was worth the wait. In 2021, Thomas II ranked third in the conference with 11 pass breakups, and he finished with 50 total tackles and two interceptions, earning First-Team All-Ivy League accolades, as well as a selection to the All-New England Team.
In the process, Thomas II on Saturday became Yale's first NFL Draft selection since Foye Oluokun in 2018.
"I am incredibly proud and excited for Rodney and his family. He was a huge part of our success here at Yale because of his relentless pursuit to be elite on the field, in the meeting room and as a teammate," Yale head coach Tony Reno said. "The Indianapolis Colts drafted an exceptional player who will work tirelessly on the field and be a better person off of it."
As advertised, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Thomas II played all over the field for the Yale defense in 2021. According to Pro Football Focus, he logged 324 snaps at free safety, 236 as a slot cornerback, and 95 snaps in the box. In 2019, he played about half of his defensive snaps lined up in the slot.
Factoring Thomas II in as a cornerback with the Colts, he'll have quite the competition ahead of him at the that position, which is led by Pro Bowler Kenny Moore II, one of the top slot corners in the game, as well as 2022 free agent signings Stephon Gilmore, the 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and Brandon Facyson. Another major contributor returning at the position is the speedy Isaiah Rodgers, who had three interceptions in his second NFL season in 2021.
Others vying for offseason roster spots at cornerback for the Colts include Tony Brown, Anthony Chesley, Alexander Myres, Will Redmond, Marvell Tell III, and Chris Wilcox.
View photos of Yale DB Rodney Thomas II, selected in the seventh round by the Indianapolis Colts.