NAME: Deionte Thompson
CLASS: RS Junior
RECRUITMENT RATING: 4-star
WT: 194 lbs
Change of Direction/Hip Fluidity: Doesn’t seem to suffer from any lower body stiffness, but feet transitions are slow. Thompson is high hipped, so his legs are long, and because of this he struggles chopping his feet quickly to change directions. Very leggy and clunky when doing so. Yet, has enough hip fluidity to open up and run at a controlled pace. Issues arise when he has to turn a dime.
Tackling: Willingness to tackle is awesome. Is quick to pursue the ball carrier and get into the mix. However, gives up so much size when tackling. Routinely abandons his body and dives at his opponents’s legs to get them down. Misses tackles because of this reckless style of play. Also, this type of tackling warrants more injuries.
Instincts: In terms of run defending, Thompson is very quick to process and fill run lanes. Showed the ability to come down hill and meet ball carriers for minimal gains (when he could get them down). Surprisingly his struggles came up in pass coverage. Especially towards the end of the year. Moments where his eyes were caught in the back field in man coverage or in single high and would let receivers run right by him. Also, illustrated instances where he would stop reading the Quarterbacks eyes ( when in single high), and run to the first corner he noticed in deep coverage. In a lot of these situations the QB would be staring down their target the entire rep and Thompson would still be out of position. Lastly, slow to react at times. Looked like he was thinking too much rather than reading and pursuing. Must clean these poor habits up to be relied upon in single high coverage.
Range: Coming into the year, Range was thought of as one of his strengths. However, speed looked questionable down the stretch. Times where he got beat to pursuit angles, couldn’t keep up with receivers, or was late to get to his landmark in coverage. However, also flashed some terrific range in the earlier part of the year. Athletic testing will really give some clarity about how much ground he can cover in a hurry. Right now, I would characterize his range as functional.
Man Coverage: His results in man coverage weren’t great for the most part. Like mentioned before, has a bad habit of peaking in the back field and letting receivers run past him. Doesn’t seem to have the best physical traits to translate either. Clunky transitions when having to quickly turn and run could get him in some trouble against twitchier slot receivers. Change of direction ability doesn’t seem to explosive enough to thrive in this role. Has the ball skills to locate the football in man coverage though.
Ball Skills: Possesses a natural nose for the ball when it’s thrown to his way. Just depends on whether or not he gets himself in the vicinity of the ball.
Competitive Toughness: Competitiveness and physicality aren’t really question marks for me. Plenty of instances where he competes to the ball/ball carrier or where he is looking come down hill and lay the wood. It just didn’t seem like was he there mentally each play. Too many mistakes/lapses in the last stretch of the season where he looked lost. I wouldn’t be honest if I said I wasn’t concerned.
Best Trait: Ball Skills
Worst Trait: Consistency
Best Film: Louisville (2018)
Worst Film: Auburn (2018)
Deionte Thompson’s 2018 season was truly a tale of two halves. In the first halve he looked like the rangy free safety that many people (including my self) thought he would be. In the second half, he struggled processing route patterns and looked out matched athletically against better competition.
That said, athletic testing will be huge for his evaluation. We need to find out if he has the speed play center fielder in the NFL. If his athletic testing shows limitations. I don’t know where you put him. He doesn’t have the frame or skill set to play in the box. Thompson will also have to clean up the mental mistakes he had down the stretch. Right now, he projects best as a Free Safety in Cover 1/Cover 3 type of defense. Yet again, this projection relies heavily on his athletic testing.
- Ledyard, Jon. “Deionte Thompson.” The Draft Network, thedraftnetwork.com/player/deionte-thompson.