After selecting a cornerback in the first round and then a wide receiver in the second round, just about everyone thought the New York Giants would address one of their two biggest needs: linebacker or offensive line. However, the Giants selected Darian Thompson, a safety from Boise State.
The first thing that pops off the tape when watching Thompson is his ball skills. He excels at reading the quarterback and jumping routes to make a play. In terms of his size, he is very big for a safety, which was likely a major factor in his selection. He has very good hands, which allowed him to accumulate 19 interceptions over his college career.
"First of all, I’m an extremely smart football player," noted Thompson. "I know how to study film and diagnose plays and put myself in the right spot in order to make plays and make turnovers. I think that’s what I do best. I have a knack for the football, and I feel like an interception is just as much as a touchdown, so that’s what I’m going after."
With the positive traits Thompson comes with comes negative traits. Thompson’s height slows him down a lot, as he ran a 4.69 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. Scouts note that Thompson is very undisciplined in coverage, often leading to blown coverage. He often panics when in a sticky situation and improvises which often leads to a touchdown or deep play.
Although Thompson will need to be developed, he definitely fits well into the Giants defensive scheme. Thompson will fight with Nat Berhe, Mykkele Thompson, and Bennett Jackson for the second safety spot, as Landon Collins occupies the other safety spot. It will be interesting to see how the Giants deal with Collins, as they view Thompson as a free safety, the same spot as Collins played this past year. Jerry Reese declared Thompson as a free safety, which suits him very well as he is very good roaming around the backfield waiting to make a play.
Overall, Thompson is very “raw”, which means he has the attributes to become a good starting safety in the NFL, but those attributes need to be developed and polished. In Thompson’s defense, he didn’t go to a big-time school, which is a reason he hasn’t been as developed as he should be. The Giants wanted to add some competition to the safety position. Safety will have the most competitive competition in training camp, as there are now four players who could end up being the Giants’ second safety. After taking a cornerback and wide receiver in the earlier rounds, the Giants earned themselves a B- for this pick, as they have simply been unable address their two biggest needs thus far into the draft, and more importantly because Darian Thompson is by no means a set-in-stone starter for 2016.