Ranking the Arizona Cardinals 2019 rookies off of their NFL comparisons
3. Deionte Thompson – S
Player comparisons: Kevin Byard (Doug Farrar), Marcus Williams (Lance Zierlein), Devin McCourty (Daniel Jeremiah, Matt Miller), Eddie Jackson (Mike Tanier)
Wait, the Cardinals were able to select Deionte Thompson in the fifth round!? Do the other 31 NFL teams realize who they might’ve passed up? Well, I guess they do, as he was compared to high-profile safeties throughout the draft process, and even earned first-round grades early on.
Maybe the most generous comparisons belong to Doug Farrar and Mike Tanier, who compared Thompson to Kevin Byard and Eddie Jackson, respectively. Byard and Jackson are known as two of the best free safeties currently in the NFL, and have Pro-Bowl and All-Pro nods to show for it. Doug Farrar of Touchdown Wire said this about his Byard comparison;
"Byard led the NFL with eight interceptions in 2017 and followed that up with four more picks last season. Thompson is a similarly rangy safety who can follow the receiver through any deep route and close quickly to the ball. Thompson allowed four touchdowns to just two interceptions last season, but the tape is similar."
The other compared players Devin McCourty and Marcus Williams are no slouches either. Both are often ranked within the top-ten of free safeties currently in the league and are high-level starters for their respective Super Bowl contending teams (Patriots, Saints, respectively).
So why did Thompson drop to the fifth? Many, including myself, assume it’s due to a combination of lack of need at the position, injury history, and inconsistencies. Oddly enough, those very same reasons are why the Bears were able to nab Eddie Jackson, a 2019 All-Pro out of Alabama, in the third round just two drafts ago.
If Thompson turns out to be any of the four players mentioned, the Cardinals wouldn’t just have a steal on their hands, they’d have another key building block for the defense.