The Arizona Cardinals added defensive back Jalen Thompson the 2019 NFL Supplemental Draft on Wednesday. The Cardinals, under new coach Kliff Kingsbury, are looking to rebound from last year’s 3-13 record.
Thompson, who played collegiately at Washington State, was the only player selected. Selecting him means the Cardinals forfeit their 2020 fifth round pick. However, the will still get to pick in the fifth round courtesy of the pick acquired in the Josh Rosen trade.
Thompson elected to enter the draft rather than sit out the year after violating NCAA rules, reportedly stemming from purchasing and ‘over the counter’ supplement. Although he landed with Arizona, several other teams were reported to have interest. Green Bay in particular were linked to the WSU product. His selection by the Cardinals continues the team’s defensive retool.
Whilst at WSU, he showed racked up an impressive 190 tackles. His tackling prowess is perfectly illustrated in the clip below.
To play safety in the NFL, you have to make plays like this.
Jalen Thompson’s read/react skills and athleticism are attractive traits for the next level. pic.twitter.com/YrwHV8eYgR
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) July 2, 2019
However, he’s also good in man coverage and has decent ball skills, evidenced by his 11 sacks, six interceptions, 17 passes defended and two forced fumbles. His pickup by the Cardinals makes a lot of sense, especially considering many viewed Thompson as the top safety in the Pac 12. He’s expected to compete in the training camp battle to be the backup safety.
Whilst Thompson was listed as a safety in college he often lined up in a hybrid slot corner/safety role. Given the Cardinals lack of depth at corner it’s entirely possible he’s either cross trained for corner and safety or converted to corner full time.
CBS’s Chris Trapasso was particularly high on Thompson, stating he:
has a cornerback frame, cornerback coverage skills, a plus ability to play the football in the air, and he’s not afraid to make his presence felt against the run, although he’ll occasionally get washed out due to his lack of size and strength.
What About Those Not Drafted?
Although five players declared for the draft (West Virginia’s WR Marcus Simms, Syracuse’s LB Shyheim Cullen, Northland’s TE Devonaire Clarington and St. Francis’s DB Bryant Perry) only Thompson was selected. This shows that, in general, teams have filled their needs through free agency and the draft and so don’t often give up picks in the Supplemental Draft.
The unselected players revert to free agents. As such they are free to sign with any team that gives them an offer. In fact Marcus Simms signed with the Jaguars on Thursday.