Mykkele Thompson was an unlikely selection by the New York Giants in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. It was even a surprise to Thompson.
"It was a surprise to me," he told New York media after the selection. "I don't even know how to explain it right now. ... This was the only team I took a visit up to. I'm just glad they believed in my ability and picked me up. ... I had no clue when or if my name would get picked."
Thompson is back after missing the 2015 season with a torn Achilles tendon and is competing for one of the safety spots on the 53-man roster. Let's take a closer look as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp.
2015 Season in Review
Thompson, who has collegiate experience at free safety and corner, impressed safeties coach Dave Merritt early on with his speed and his intelligence.
"Smart kid," Merritt said. "He's able to take it from the classroom it seems so far and even with the checks that we have on the back end. With him being able to think and maybe being a quarterback out on the field. That's what I see."
We never got to see if that would translate to the regular season, though, as Thompson tore his Achilles tendon covering a punt during the first preseason game.
2016 Season Outlook
A starting job might have been within his reach at some point last season had he stayed healthy. This season, that is probably not the case -- unless there is a rash of injuries at safety. Landon Collins has one safety spot locked up, and rookie Darian Thompson is competing with third-year man Nat Berhe for the other spot.
Thompson is in the group with Bennett Jackson, Cooper Taylor and Justin Currie competing for the last couple of roster spots at safety. Health and preseason performance, particularly on special teams, could be determining factors. Thompson blocked three kicks during his collegiate career at Texas, so that is something to watch for.
The Giants were attracted to Thompson's speed, as his 4.51 40-yard dash would have been fourth-best among safeties at the combine and his 6.89 three-cone time would have been second-best. Thompson, though, wasn't invited. The Giants also liked the fact that he has experience at both free safety and in the slot.
If the Achilles injury has not cost Thompson any of that speed or athleticism, perhaps he can still find a place on the roster.