School: Boise State
Position: Free Safety
Size: 6-1, 215 pounds
Production: 19 career interceptions, leading the Mountain West all-time.
- Fluid athlete with plenty of burst to react.
- Instinctive and aggressive. One of those guys that just finds his way to the ball. (19 career INTs)
- Ideal frame (6-1) for the position; appears to have added ten pounds since the start of 2015 season.
- Appears well-prepared. Jumps/undercuts several routes to make plays on the ball.
- Above average fluidity. Can flip his hips and change direction with ease.
- Willing and aggressive in the box against the run. Flashes physicality.
- Outstanding ability to diagnose what is happening in front of him. Athletic enough to react quickly.
- Aggression works both ways. His style will provide plenty of splash plays, but a few homeruns will be surrendered in the process.
- Long speed is a concern of mine. Can he recover down the field as a single-high safety? 40 speed will be something to watch with Thompson.
- Tackling must get more consistent. That was one consistent knock from scouting circles at the Senior Bowl.
Take a look at Thompson's recognition and closing burst here. He's able to close from ten yards deep to stop the runner at the line of scrimmage.
Here's one of Thompson's 19 career picks. This is a play that I think represents Thompson as an overall player. He always seems prepared for what the offense in throwing at him. He picks up the slant early here and immediately breaks on the route, arriving just in time.
Darian Thompson is an aggressive play-maker at the free safety position. He's going to have his splash plays and he's going to have his lapses, but I think the good will far outweigh the bad. He's shown that he is a willing tackler in the box and has the athletic ability to make plays around the line of scrimmage even when starting 10+ yards deep. His change of direction and recognition skills are fun to watch and could vault him into the late first round discussion this spring.
Round grade: Early 2nd round
Expected draft slot: 25-50