Darian Thompson, S
Boise State University
6’02” 208 lbs.
- Well built frame
- Ball hawk mentality
- Solid all-around game
- Comes downhill quickly
- Solid underneath, zone coverage
- Team Leader
- Over aggressiveness can lead to missed tackles, and getting beat deep
- Not great at turning and staying with man to man coverage
- Needs to improve tackling technique
Thompson was a do it all safety for a long time at Boise State. It’s fair to question a guy’s production however when he plays in a smaller conference. Those questions began to get answered however, when Thompson was named the North squad’s MVP at the senior bowl.
Thompson has nice size for the safety position and uses it well when he’s coming downhill. When he correctly identifies a running play and a bubble screen he breaks on the ball quickly and blows up plays for a loss or minimal gain. I say when he correctly identifies, because his aggressiveness can cause him to bite badly on play-action passes.
In coverage, Thompson excels at playing in zones underneath, and does a great job of baiting Quarterbacks and aggressively making a play on the ball. Really, anytime the ball is in the air around Thompson he’s going after it. Where he struggles is manning up one on one. Thompson could definitely struggle if he’s asked to cover more athletic tight ends down the seam.
How he Fits (or doesn’t) with the Steelers
The Steelers reportedly have a lot of interest in Thompson. I’ve actually heard they’re considering him for their first round pick. That would surprise me as Thompson isn’t from a Power-5 school and is a little old for them typically in the 1st round. That being said, I could see Thompson fitting nicely in the 2nd round.
I believe the team wants an in-the-box thumper at the strong safety position to play alongside Mike Mitchell. Jeremy Cash or Su’a Cravens can do that, but both would be overwhelmed if you ask them to drop deep. While I think Thompson has some issues he needs to work on in coverage, he has the ability to also be a deep coverage safety and will definitely make some game changing plays in that role. That being said, he could also do most of his work in the box and make a big impact there. In short, Thompson and Mitchell would give Keith Butler two safeties that he can move around and mix and match coverages.
Draft Range Prediction
Early to Mid 2nd Round