Young safeties finding a home with Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals are chock-full of youthful safeties who’ll be competing this summer to earn a spot on the club’s roster
The safety position is well-represented on the Arizona Cardinals’ roster these days. The front office has peppered that area of the defensive backfield with youthful players, with a couple of veterans included in the mix. The Cards will be taking eight safeties to training camp, six of whom are under the age of 25.
Jalen Thompson, selected by the club during the fifth round of the NFL’s supplemental draft, is the latest youngster to be added to the nest. The rookie tallied 66 tackles, two interceptions and eight passes defensed for the Washington State Cougars last season. The Cardinals gave up a fifth-round pick in the 2020 draft for the right to acquire the talented Thompson.
Arizona had already landed a rookie safety back in April, during the fifth round of the traditional draft. Deionte Thompson, who was also a fifth-round choice, was actually projected to be taken much higher. The former University of Alabama star racked up 78 tackles, two picks and six pass breakups in 2018, but a wrist injury he suffered earlier this year may have scared off some organizations.
Rudy Ford, a sixth-round selection of the franchise back in 2017, will also be fighting for a job. The 24-year old’s contributions to the squad have come mostly on special teams. Ford did start one contest at safety last year, and was credited with nine tackles in 13 appearances for the Cards.
Jonathan Owens, an undrafted free agent a year ago, is back for another try at making the roster. Another safety, Tyler Sigler, is an undrafted free agent who was signed this past May. Both candidates will be facing an uphill battle to make the Cardinals, and are more likely headed for the team’s practice squad.
The star of the Redbird’s youth movement at safety is 23-year old Budda Baker. D.J. Swearinger is a 27-year old veteran who will start next to Baker in Arizona’s secondary. Free agent pickup Josh Shaw, who was inked to a deal back in March, will also be vying for playing time.
Unfortunately, the Cards won’t be able to keep all of the young talent. Clubs around the league who are looking for safety help will be keeping an eye on what transpires in the desert. Rest assured, the Cardinals’ personnel department will have some tough decisions to make come September.