One of the keys to the offseason for the Colts was to improve the offensive line. Whilst the signing of Lions right tackle Gosder Cherilus provides an upgrade over Winston Justice, the interior of the line provided the most concern.
And whilst the media regularly linked the team with moves for Buffalo Bills guard Andy Levitre and Louis Vasquez of the Chargers, General Manager Ryan Grigson chose not to pursue the bigger names on the market and instead moved for New England Patriots guard Donald Thomas.
A 27-year old lineman formerly of the Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions, Thomas started just 7 games for the Patriots in 2012, mostly serving as a backup to Logan Mankins. However, Thomas impressed during his limited playing time, and Pro Football Focus graded Thomas at +10.2 for the 2012 season, ranking him as the 4th best interior lineman available in free agency – above Vasquez.
The contract seems friendly too – 4 years at $14m is probably one of the more frugal moves the Colts made this week, particularly for someone who played well at both left and right guard.
From watching the footage of Patriots games, Thomas is a good pass protector, but also has the ability to drive linemen back to open up running lanes. It's these abilities that make him incredibly useful at both guard positions.
The first two plays are from the game against the Colts, with Thomas usually up against Fili Moala. The first play shown looks at his run blocking, and the particular play featured shows him at left guard.