Arizona Cardinals mid-round pick could be pleasant surprise
The Arizona Cardinals drafting of Alabama safety Deionte Thompson could ultimately pay huge dividends for the club’s defense
There must have been smiles all around in the Arizona Cardinals war room last weekend. Being fortunate enough to land a blue-chip prospect on the NFL Draft’s third day is certainly a reason to celebrate. And that’s exactly what the Cardinals were able to do.
General manager Steve Keim may have struck gold by landing Alabama’s Deionte Thompson with the first selection of the fifth round. The talented safety tumbled down the draft boards, much to the chagrin of the kid and his agent. But football is a business, and what was bad news for Thompson could end up being great news for the Arizona defense.
In the months leading up to the 2019 draft, many prognosticators had Thompson ranked as a first or second round talent. Following last week’s big three-day event, there were those who were wondering how and why the youngster had fallen all of the way to the 139th-overall pick. A couple of reasons for Thompson’s misfortune were revealed, and both are injury-related.
First, there was the wrist injury suffered by Thompson that ultimately damaged his draft stock. The incident occurred in the weight room, during a training session for February’s NFL Combine. Thompson underwent surgery because of the mishap and was unable to showcase his skills in Indianapolis.
There’s also whispers that Thompson may have a degenerative knee condition. The rookie admits that he had surgery for a torn meniscus back in 2017. Thompson claims, however, that he has fully recovered from the procedure and is suffering no lingering effects from it.
The defensive back’s skill-set is undeniable. Thompson racked up 78 tackles, two interceptions and six passes for the Crimson Tide last season. He also possesses great size (6’2,196) and above-average coverage ability.
Thompson may not make an impact in the desert right away. For now, the Cards have Budda Baker and D.J. Swearinger as their starters, two extremely capable safeties. Thompson’s contributions this fall would likely come mainly when the squad is in it’s nickel and dime alignments.
Kudos to Cardinals management for taking a flier on Thompson. If the reported knee condition is not an issue going forward, the organization may have gotten a steal. And Thompson can then prove to every other franchise in the league that they made a huge mistake by passing on him.