The Pittsburgh Steelers like athletes. Deionte Thompson is an athletic defensive back from Alabama. Do the Steelers need to add a guy like this to their secondary? I’m taking a look at the All-American.
Deionte Thompson, Defensive Back, Redshirt Junior, 6’2″ 193 lbs.
University of Alabama
Hometown: Orange, Texas
Was #4 player in the state of Texas… #3 ranked safety… All-American in 2018
2018 Stats: 78 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2 INT, 6 Passes defensed
What’s To Like
He’s not afraid to stick his nose in there… More than willing to be physical… He’ll put a lick on a ball carrier without hesitation… Pretty fluid in his hips… Uses length to his advantage in coverage… Good timing when breaking on the ball… Nice hands/Can see his high school receiving skills on display when he returns an interception… Reads the flow of the play above average… Definitely has those ‘ball-hawking’ tendencies defensive coaches look for… Comes downhill fast.
Weighs over 190 pounds but could use strength to his frame… Has to get his head up when tackling/Many of his missed tackles are due to this… His style of play is down-right scary at times due to his aggressiveness… Ability to recover when beaten deep isn’t good… Can be beaten to the sideline due to poor angles… Very questionable man-to-man skills/Spent a lot of time dropping into zone coverage at Bama… When asked to cover in man, is often hesitant… Struggled a bit against top-level competition.
If you’re in the market for a safety who will have little responsibility in terms of man-to-man coverage and can sit back in cover one or cover two then Thompson might be for you. His athleticism is a major positive and allows him to make plays other guys won’t. My biggest concern besides his lack of man cover skills is the way he plays combined with his frame. He’s long and thin and will lower that head and hit you like a missile. That’s great but I worry about his long-term durability and he prefers to go low in open-field situations which is fine if you consistently make tackles. Thompson lacks that consistency. All that said, I think he’s got a decent shot to be a NFL starter. It has to be the right system and right situation for him and I’m not entirely sure the Steelers would fit that bill.
Final Grade: Late Second Round
Games Watched: vs Georgia (2018), vs Auburn (2018), vs Ole Miss (2018), Louisville (2018)
Credits: sports-reference.com, youtube.com, rolltide.com