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Giants 90-man roster breakdown: S Mykkele Thompson

Can this rookie be the free safety the Giants need?

Mykkele Thompson
Mykkele Thompson
Steven Ryan-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have a number of players who seem more comfortable at strong safety than free safety. One exception to that is rookie Mykkele Thompson, the team's surprise fifth-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Let's look at Thompson as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp.

2014 Season in Review

Played both nickel cornerback and safety for the Texas Longhorns, versatility that surely is part of what attracted the Giants. Had 69 tackles in 13 games, averaging seven tackles per game in the final seven games. Had one interception, a forced fumble and two passes defensed.

2015 Season Outlook

The fact that Thompson was a surprising fifth-round selection by the Giants has been well-documented. The Giants, however, saw in Thompson something they don't really have in any other safety on the roster. They saw a player will a free safety skill set who can run a 4.47 40-yard dash who they believe can play the ball in center field.

" ... he is a competitor, he is really smart and they played him in a bunch of different positions. He was in the slot, free and strong [safety spots]. He can handle that in game. He can run. The kid can run. He is not your classic corner, not your classic safety, but we think he can provide versatility. More of a free safety for us," said Vice President of Player Evaluation Marc Ross.

Thompson, 6-foot, 193 pounds is not a heavy-hitting safety. Can he move past Cooper Taylor, Nat Berhe and Jeromy Miles on the depth chart and earn playing time as a rookie? Maybe. In a recent roster projection I don't even have Thompson making the season-opening 53-man roster. That could be the case -- he has much to learn about the NFL and about being a full-time free safety. His skill set, unique to the group of safeties on the Giants roster, could end up pushing him into a more prominent role.

Either way, watching Thompson -- a player only the Giants appeared interested in drafting -- will be fascinating.