Measurables: 6’1” 194
Hops (vert/broad): 33”, 118”
Mobility (3-cone, shuttle): DNC
Best Traits: Closing speed and tackling, ball hawking, catching skills
Worst Traits: Lack of athleticism and size, rigidness in man coverage
Thompson came to Alabama as a high 4-star recruit who could play both wide receiver and safety. He came in under 170 pounds and had to take a redshirt as he worked on both building muscle mass and picking a position. He bounced back and forth between offense and defense in his first season before settling on safety in year 2.
Over the next two years, he was a regular contributor on special teams and was a regular back-up in the secondary behind players like Minkah Fitzpatrick and Ronnie Harrison. Injuries at the end of the 2017 season saw Thompson forced into a starting role for the semifinal and national championship games, where he performed admirably.
He was an unquestioned starter going into 2018, and started the season red-hot, vaulting to the top of NFL draft circles as he made splash play after splash play. Unfortunately, as time wore on, his play became more inconsistent as the Alabama defense struggled to contain passes over the top. Some of that was due to injuries and shuffling of the cornerbacks, but some of it was Thompson being a little slow on the draw a few too many times.
Ultimately, though, he was second on the team in tackles (with a team high 48 solo stops, showcasing his tackling prowess in the open field), and was a rangy, game-changing ballhawk for most of the season.
He fell meteorically in the draft before finally being picked up as the first pick of the fifth round by the Arizona Cardinals. He'll have an uphill battle to prove that he was worth much higher than a 5th round selection.