Can UDFA Trenton Thompson provide safety depth Giants need?

Can UDFA Trenton Thompson provide safety depth Giants need?

The New York Giants are searching for safety depth beyond starters Xavier McKinney and Julian Love. Much of the offseason attention has been focused on fourth-round draft pick Dane Belton, undrafted free agent Yusuf Corker and the conversion from cornerback of third-year player Jarren Williams.

What, though, about Trenton Thompson? Like Corker, Thompson is an undrafted free agent. Could it be Thompson, rather than Corker, Williams or an experienced player like Henry Black, who emerges as a backup safety for the 2022 Giants?

Let’s discuss Thompson as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the Giants’ 90-man roster.

By the numbers

Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 196
Age: 24
Position: Safety
Experience: rookie
Contract: Three years, $2,572 million | guaranteed: $30,000 | 2022 cap hit: $709,166

Career to date

Thompson played parts of six seasons at San Diego State. He red-shirted with an injury after playing two games in 2017. He returned to the Aztecs for a sixth year in 2021, taking advantage of the eligibility change due to the 2020 COVID-19 season.

Thompson ended up playing in 51 collegiate games. He has made 187 tackles (124 solo), with four interceptions and 21 passes defended.

Mountain West Wire offered this scouting report:

strengths

Though Thompson wasn’t a full-time starter until this past season, he had plenty of opportunities to provide himself as a ranged pass defender and a rugged run stopper over the past several years, collecting 21 pass breakups and 12 tackles for loss since 2018 to 2021. He has the instincts to diagnose plays as they develop and enough speed to get to where he needs to be in order to make a play, whether that’s snuffing out screens or providing safety help over the top.

Better yet, Thompson also contributed on special teams throughout his Aztecs career, blocking two punts and scoring off of two others over the past four seasons. If nothing else, that versatility could catch the eye of some position coaches at the next level.

Weaknesses

The downside of spending six years with the Aztecs is that Thompson now enters this draft class as one of its oldest safety prospects, meaning that teams may see limited upside for growth going forward. He also lacks the top-end speed that many of those younger prospects possess, so whatever role he eventually carves out for himself will depend on the ability to stretch his intangibles as far as they can go.

Here is a look at Thompson’s athletic profile, which tells you a big part of the reason he went undrafted:

2022 outlook

Can Thompson overcome those limited athletic gifts and earn a spot in the Giants’ secondary?

Emory Hunt of Football Gameplan and CBS Sports said during a recent ‘Valentine’s Views’ podcast that he is “a big fan” of Thompson’s and believes has a chance:

“His only issue, he’s going to be 24 or 25 years old, so he’s an older player even though he’s an undrafted rookie,” Hunt said. “But, he’s so good in terms of understanding what he’s seeing out there defensively. He kinda has that veteran presence even though he’s a rookie.”

A spot on the practice squad seems more likely for Thompson, but to earn it he is likely going to have to outplay Corker throughout training camp and the preseason.

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