The selection of Texas free safety Mykkele Thompson by the New York Giants in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft surprised many, including Thompson. And we have spent a good deal of time attempting to figure out what the Giants, the only team Thompson visited before the draft, saw that other NFL teams did not.
Regardless, what matters going forward is whether or not Thompson turns into a useful player for the Giants. Thompson's position coach at Texas, Chris Vaughn, appeared recently on 'Big Blue Kickoff Live' on Giants.com that the Giants have found themselves a diamond in the rough.
"The Giants did a great job I think projecting him as an athlete and knowing that he's got great character and a guy that's willing to come learn, wants to be good. When you put all those things together you've got a chance to have a guy and develop a guy," Vaughn said. "I told people going into the draft if you're looking for a young guy that you want to develop and can help you on all the special teams early in his career but you have time to develop him into a player he's gonna be your guy because athletically he can do everything you ask him to do."
The Giants were attracted to Thompson's 4.47 40-yard dash speed, which makes him their fastest safety. They were also attracted to the fact that Thompson played safety and both inside and outside as a cornerback for the Longhorns.
"His best football is ahead of him guys. I really believe that. He's so athletic. He's got a great burst. He can really run. He's got really good hips for a tall young man, which is hard to find. ... moves like a 5-10 guy .. he's long," Vaughn said.
"In the NFL the ball is in the middle of the field almost all of the time. You've got to have a really good athlete back there that can play in space. Mykkele, because of his athletic ability and his range, that shouldn't be a huge issue for him."
Vaughn shrugged off the concern about the Giants possibly being the only team that was interested in drafting Thompson.
"That's the thing about the NFL and the draft. You have to find one team that loves you, not however many teams are in the NFL right now," Vaughn said.
"If one team find you and loves you, which the Giants did a great job with their homework on him and brought him in and did an extensive background check on him and talked to him and worked him out and they fell in love with him because athletically he's one of the best athletes I've coached. The way he runs. He can run, can jump, got great transition for a tall kid and again I think his best football is ahead of him."