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2016 NFL Draft: Can Darian Thompson help the Giants' secondary?

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The Giants might need to turn to the draft to replenish the back end of their defense, could Boise State's Darian Thompson be an option?

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The New York Giants bet on youth to fill out their safety position in 2015. That plan backfired to the detriment of the whole defense as a quartet of young safeties were lost to injury over the course of the season.

With significant injuries to three of them -- an injured calf for Nat Berhe, a torn Achilles for rookie Mykkele Thompson, and a torn ACL for Bennett Jackson -- it's uncertain how much they will be able to contribute in 2016.

The Giants are likely to try to find safety help in free agency, but if they aren't sure how much they will be able to get from the safeties already on their roster, they could once again turn to the draft to help fill out their depth chart.

Measurables

Pros

  • Remarkable ball skills, 11 interceptions in 2014 and 2015, 17 total at Boise State.
  • Excellent size for a free safety.
  • Sees the field well and understands offensive concepts. High football IQ
  • Intangibles let him play faster than he tested. Accurately diagnoses plays and recognizes tendencies, so he has little wasted movement.
  • Aggressive defender who commits fully.
  • Makes plays behind the line of scrimmage and is a willing tackler. 131 tackles and 13.5 tackles for a loss (8.5 in 2015) over the last two seasons.

Cons

  • Limited athlete who can struggle to recover if he misdiagnoses a play.
  • Shouldn't be in man coverage often. Tight hips limit his ability to turn and run with receivers.
  • Can give up big plays looking for interceptions.

Prospect Video

Big Board Rankings

Big Blue View - 38th

Mocking The Draft - Not in Top 100

CBS - 47th

Draft Tek - 54th

Does He Fit With the Giants?

Thompson is a healthy safety, so yeah, he fits.

His tendency to give up plays, and limited athleticism, are a problem. However his body control and ability to create turnovers help to make up for that. While the defense was generally bad last year, Spags did have them playing hard and that resulted in quite a few turnovers. Having a ball-hawking safety like Thompson on a high-effort defense could give offenses second thoughts about trying deep strikes.

Final Thoughts

Thompson's stock probably suffered a serious blow at the Scouting Combine. Safeties aren't expected to be as athletic as corners, but posting numbers you would expect from a defensive lineman sixty or seventy pounds heavier have to hurt him.

On tape, he is one of the top safeties in the class and a likely (high) day two pick. But if he can't show that he is a better athlete at the Boise St. Pro Day, he could slide, maybe even to the third day.