Coming to Alabama as the third best safety in the nation there was plenty of hope around Deionte Thompson who cut his teeth on special teams as a redshirt freshman and sophomore. It wasn’t till the 2017 College Football Playoff till Thompson was able to get his first start of his career and he didn’t disappoint making plays against both Clemson and Georgia. With Thompson now taking over full time it is a great time to get to know this fourth year safety.
What Deionte Thompson Does Well
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Playing the free safety role for the Crimson Tide, Thompson lines up on the field (wide) side providing help over the top of the cornerbacks. In this role Thompson is able to sit back and read the defense and use his ability to accelerate and react to the ball in the air. Not only can Thompson be able to put himself in the right position he can play the ball helping prevent completions or making the interception. While Thompson mainly plays back in double or single high zone coverage he does show the ability to play some man out of the slot using his speed to run with receivers and backs. As a run defender Thompson is very quick to come up and stick his nose into the action not shying away from contact.
Concerns about Deionte Thompson
While Thompson shows the ability to play back in coverage and react to the ball in the air, his range isn’t overly great. He struggles to go from sideline to sideline as a single high safety to help out his cornerbacks. Thompson can play some man to man coverage but he’s still raw in his technique which can cause some separation. In the run game he’s fast to the ball, but his angles can be a bit off causing him to over run the ball and miss some tackles.
Being only a two game starter there is still a lot to learn about Deionte Thompson, but starting in the two biggest games of Alabama’s season we did get a good glimpse of what to expect for the 2018 season. That being said Thompson does a lot of things good, but isn’t great in one specific area. This is a reason he projects to be more of a solid starter in the NFL than an elite prospect. Thompson best projects as a free safety with his ability to play back in coverage. But with his willingness and skill in the run game along with some flashes of man coverage ability it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him play some strong safety also. This versatility only helps Thompson as most defensive coordinators want safeties who can do a lot of different roles so they can mix and hide up their coverage.
What I’m excited to watch out of Deionte Thompson for the 2018
I want to see Thompson more as a deep safety and his range. What make Malik Hooker such a highly touted prospect is his ability to cover the entire field when he was back deep. Thompson doesn’t have to have that elite range, but if he can continue to cover a large portion and make plays on the ball it’s only going to enhance his stock.