Deionte Thompson 2019 NFL Draft Profile

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Deionte Thompson
BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 03: Deionte Thompson #14 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after the LSU Tigers missed a second half field goal at Tiger Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Alabama won the game 29-0. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Overview
Position: Safety
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 196 pounds
School: Alabama Crimson Tide

Deionte Thompson 2019 NFL Draft Profile

Deionte Thompson might be the most highly-debated safety in the 2019 NFL Draft. Initially joining Alabama as a four-star recruit, Thompson spent the majority of his early career on special teams. However, Thompson carved out a defensive role late in the 2017 season, putting himself on the national radar. Thompson built on that strong end to 2017 and entered 2018 as Alabama’s starting free safety.

At first, Thompson looked like the real deal. The Senior safety demonstrated elite range and ball-hawking ability while also dropping down into man coverage as needed. However, his play dramatically dipped in the second half of the season, causing his draft stock to fall. Thompson played like a sure-fire first-rounder in the first half of the season but looked considerably worse in the second half. Evaluators will have dramatically different opinions on Thompson, simply because it was like watching two different players.

Of course, you can’t talk about Thompson without bringing up the assault charges. Thompson, along with three other men, was accused of allegedly beating and kicking Noah Frillou while on Spring Break back in 2017. Thompson maintained his innocence but was arrested for aggravated assault the following April. Fortunately for Thompson, the district attorney’s office dropped the charges on February 5th. As of this posting, Thompson appears to be out of legal trouble heading into the NFL Draft.

Strengths

  • Boasts incredible sideline-to-sideline range
  • Loose, fluid hips allow for natural, seamless movement in coverage
  • Capable of dropping into the slot and covering wide receivers
  • Strong all-around athlete with ideal size and speed for the position
  • Should contribute on special teams from Day One

Weaknesses

  • Character issues stemming from assault charges
  • Production dramatically decreased in the second half of season
  • Subpar instincts were exploited later in 2018
  • Lacks ideal tackling form, often trying to take out legs instead of wrap the body
  • Minimal starting experience on defense
  • Little film of Thompson playing man coverage

NFL Comparison: Duron Harmon

Teams With a Need: Oakland Raiders, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cincinnati Bengals, Washington Redskins

Projection: Rounds 2-3

Bottom Line

Deionte Thompson is one of the hardest players to evaluate for quite a few reasons. For one, Thompson started in Alabama’s defense for just over one season. During that time, the safety put up some inconsistent tape. Early in his starting tenure, he looked like a sure-fire first-round pick in the making. His fantastic sideline-to-sideline speed made him a dangerous “center field” safety and he showed the athleticism to drop into the slot and play man coverage.

Watching his second half of the season is like watching a different player. While he still had his speed, teams simply figured out how to best attack him. Teams took advantage of Thompson’s subpar instincts and the safety allowed quite a few deep passes on his watch. Additionally, Thompson missed on a few interceptions and ultimately wasn’t the playmaker Alabama needed.

There is a good player in Thompson, but he needs more experience before he’s ready to contribute on an NFL roster. Any team taking him needs to understand that he shouldn’t start right away. The best-case scenario for Thompson is serving as a depth piece in 2019, picking up the game, and fighting for a starting job in 2020. If he can put it together, he could be one of the better safeties in the league.

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