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IDP Rookie Impact Series: Darian Thompson S NYG

Written by Bruce Kimbrough (@fatkat52)

Intro
Darian Thompson was a three-star recruit coming out of high school and he played both sides of the ball as a 160 lb safety/wide receiver. He only had one college scholarship offer and as soon as that phone rang from the Boise State Broncos he needed no time to think about it, he committed to them. Thompson red shirted in 2011, but in 2012 he played in all 13 games  with 43 TKs, with 28 of them Solos, 3 INTs and started the last 6 games. Thompson was a full time starter in 2013 of all 13 games and put up 63 TKs, with 34 of them Solos, 1.5 TFL, 3 INTs and 1 PD. In his junior year Thompson started all 13 games and had 71 TKs, 50 of them Solos, with 7 INTs which he lead the conference, 5 TFL, 1 PD and received First Team All-MWC honors. In 2015 as a senior he fell off his numbers from 2014 because he was more in coverage mode. He still had some nice production with 65 TKS, with 37 of them Solos, tied for second with 8.5 TFL, 1 SK, 5 INTs, 9 PDs and 2 FF which eared him First Team All-MWC and All-America honors with a invite to the Senior Bowl.

Draft Day:
In the 3rd round 8th pick (71st overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected S Darian Thompson, formerly of the Boise State Broncos. Thompson was drafted in his projected draft slot (3rd or early 4th round) which I think should have went 3rd and was a steal for the Giants.

“When the ball is in the air, he wants it. He struggles a bit in the tackle game. A safety has to tackle. He’s your last line of defense. So, I love the ball skills, but want to see him tackle.” — Mike Mayock

Steve Spagnuolo Defensive Coordinator on free safety Darian Thompson: “He’s assertive, he’s vocal, he’s not afraid to make a mistake. He’s one of those guys, and this is a quality of a good football player, is you correct him with one thing, he’s usually not gonna make that same mistake again.”

Measurables: 
At the 2016 NFL Combine Thompson ran a 4.49 40-Yard Dash, a 1.66 10-Yard Dash Split; he also bench pressed 225 lbs 12 times.  He posted a 32 1/2″ Vertical Jump, 118″ Broad Jump, he ran a 7.26 (3) Cone Drill, and put up a 4.33 20-yard shuttle, with a 11.59 Agility Score.

Size–
 6’2″, 208 lbs, 30 3/8″ Arm Length, 9 1/8″ Hand Size; He has a big strong frame with a good build and room to add more weight and muscle.

Athleticism– 
Maybe not the most athletic player but makes up for it by consistently making great football decisions. He has a great defensive football IQ.

Medical–
Durable four year player and starter in 45 games.

Pass Rush
Thompson was not a sack monster in college but that was not his roll either; he was more often making the tackle at or behind the line of scrimmage or in coverage.  I think he has the skill to put up some sacks because of his burst and his present knowledge, and his height in the pocket will allow him to get into throwing lanes.

Run Defense–
He does a great job filling gaps between the tackles and will go kamikaze to set the edge on blockers. He loves to come up and make a bruising tackle at the line of scrimmage and will elude the blocker to make the tackle or sniff out a screen.

Tackling–
He is a hard hitting tackler who will cut down other blockers to get to the ball carrier. He has great tackle technique with dropping a shoulder and wrapping the ball carrier or picking a great angle on the ball. PFF gave him a 78.4 in coming up to play the run and he only missed one tackle out of ever fifteen.

Coverage–
Not only a hard hitter in the run game, he also makes the receivers pay when they are thrown the ball by breaking hard on the receiver to break it up. He sits back and has the ability to wait for the play to develop He also has great anticipation to know where and when to break on the ball. Hey is a ball hawk and can read the QBs eyes 90% of the time. He sometimes falls off in zone coverage because he is trying to anticipate the play, which can lead to a blown coverage.

NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks gave him enforcement, stating Thompson “earned high marks from coaches for his high football IQ and communication skills. In addition, he has shown solid skills in coverage and flashed a knack for getting his hands on the ball”.

Instincts–
He has crazy good instincts on the field and a workhouse off; he puts much time into improving his game.

Versatility–
Thompson can play up in the slot or fall back into coverage without any problems as he played 190 of his 900  snaps in the slot in 2015.

Matt Miller’s (Bleacher Report) wrote “The best safety here, bar none…an impressive ball hawk capable of matching up against slot receivers or playing center field in a single-high-safety look”.

Motor–
Non stop. He is always after the ball wherever it is on the field and he takes great angles.

Veteran Player Impact:
After drafting Landon Collins FS last year and Eli Apple CB (1st round) and Thompson (3rd round) this year, it is obvious they are upgrading their defensive backfield. The only one possibly standing in Thompson’s way at SS is 4th year Copper Taylor SS who is bigger (6’4″ 228lbs) and faster (4.49 forty), but he only had 15 TKs (6 of them Solos) the last three years, so if he was the real deal he would have got in a lot more snap time. So it looks like right now the starting job is Thompson’s barring unseen problems.

“Big kid, center fielder, checks a lot of boxes for us,” general manager Jerry Reese said of Thompson. “We really like how he makes plays on the football. We think he’s a solid tackler back there. Makes the calls. Captain. High test score. A lot of things to like about him.”

“D.T. is a guy who looks like he is comfortable in his skin,” Head Coach Ben McAdoo said. “He can communicate well and we know he has good ball skills. That showed up in his stat line and on his film study and he is making the most of his opportunities.”

Dynasty/Re-Draft Fantasy Value:
Now in Re-Draft Leagues with short rosters maybe not but in deeper Re-Draft Leagues I’m going to draft him; in fact, I nabbed him in a league I’m drafting in right now. In dynasty he is a pick up and stash; after all, they do pick on Rookie DBs and that means fantasy points.

Thompson is my #2 DB in the DFW Rookie Defensive Backs and #38 in DFW Rookie OFF/IDP Top 75 .

Dynasty ADP: 
He’s going off the board in OFF/IDP rookie Drafts in the early 6th round.

The Take:
I think this kid has a chance to be one of the top Rookie IDP players this year with all of his talents after all he did break Eric Weddle’s INT record with 19 at Boise State. He has the game to play in the slot as well as fall back in coverage; he just needs to work on zone coverage. He is a film junkie and retains all of the tendencies and quirks of the other players. Thompson is also a very aggressive downhill player that loves to take on other players with physical hits with no regard for himself. He is sometimes over aggressive, which can take him out of the play; a little tight hipped and takes a chance on a play and blows the coverage. But I would rather have that because he can learn from his mistakes and get better than guys on the other end of scale. I think his awareness, his anticipation, and his ability to always move towards the ball are his greatest attributes and will serve him well in the NFL.  He reminds me of Morgan Burnett of the GB Packers in that they both have similar attributes in coverage and making the play at the line of scrimmage. I’m drafting him in my leagues where I can and will be grabbing off the Waivers in others.

Be sure to check back for my weekly @Fatkat52 DFW #IDP WAIVER WATCH when the NFL season starts and Follow me on Twitter @Fatkat52 Bruce Kimbrough