Safety was a position of need for the New York Giants heading into the 2016 NFL Draft, especially from a depth perspective. They addressed that need in the third round by selecting Boise State safety Darian Thompson.
The Giants see Thompson as a ball-hawking safety who will challenge for a starting spot on this defense right away. He possesses good size at 6-foot-2 and 208 pounds. He ran a 4.69-second 40-yard dash, but has been clocked at 4.5 seconds in other 40-yard dashes. He will use good instincts and focus on getting himself in position. The question is, can he tackle once in position?
Thompson is a work in progress. He especially needs work at tackling and playing against the run. However, he is excellent at jumping routes and either breaking up the pass or picking it off. He is also a threat to return an interception for big gains. He will gamble at times and get burned deep.
Depth was an issue for the Giants at safety. They got exposed last season after Nat Berhe, Bennett Jackson and Mykkele Thompson went down with injuries. Darian Thompson could potentially start for the Giants right away as long as he cleans up his game. The good news is he is coachable and you can teach tackling.
Darian Thompson has excellent instincts at safety and has taken excellent strides at Boise State. He should continue to make those strides with the Giants and could form an outstanding tandem with Landon Collins, last year’s second-round pick. He will have plenty of competition in camp so he will need to make huge strides right away to earn a starting spot. At the very least, Thompson could be used as an extra safety in passing downs, kind of like Deon Grant was used a few years ago.
Jerry Reese is banking on Thompson to become what Stevie Brown was a couple of years ago, a turnover machine that makes teams think twice before going deep. As long as he continues to work and gets better at tackling, Thompson could become a major factor on the 2016 Giants’ defense.