If you go through the most recent 53-man roster projections for the 2019 Dallas Cowboys, including those from this site, you won’t see Safety Darian Thompson’s name anywhere. But this former third-round pick is here and reportedly making plays during OTAs. Should Thompson be getting more attention?
A quick background; Thompson was drafted in the early third round of the 2016 NFL Draft, 71st overall, by the New York Giants. He was named a starter in Week 2 of that season but then left the game with a foot injury, and ended up missing the rest of the year on injured reserve.
Thompson returned in 2017 as a starter and held the job for all 16 games. However, he was injured during the 2018 offseason and eventually waived when the Giants gave his job to Curtis Riley.
After a brief stint on the Cardinals’ practice squad, Darian was signed by the Cowboys and played in 10 games on special teams. Dallas chose to re-sign Thompson in March to a one-year deal when he became a free agent.
So no, it hasn’t been an ideal start to this guy’s NFL career. But still at just 25 years old, Darian Thompson is hoping to realize the potential that New York saw when they made him a Day 2 draft pick.
Where you were drafted certainly doesn’t mean everything, and sometimes it means absolutely nothing. But it’s hard not to look at Thompsons pedigree, especially when compared to the rest of Dallas’ safeties, and not get intrigued.
Newly-added George Iloka was a fifth-round pick. Xavier Woods, Kavon Frazier, and rookie Donovan Wilson are all sixth-round guys. And Jeff Heath didn’t get drafted at all.
Again, draft status doesn’t mean a lot. Thompson got cut by the Giants halfway through his rookie contract for a reason, and that’s no small move for a guy you drafted on a Friday.
But twice this week, Cowboys insider Bryan Broaddus has cited Darian as a standout performer during OTAs. And in a report yesterday, ESPN’s Todd Archer said Thompson and George Iloka took over at safety after Woods and Heath left the field.
For good reason, Heath, Iloka, and Woods are the consensus top three at safety right now. But the general assumption is that Frazer and Wilson are battling for that fourth spot, or that they will both make the team if Dallas goes long at the position.
Nobody is factoring Darian Thompson in their 2019 roster projections yet, but it may be time to start. If Kris Richard can get stuff out of Thompson that the Giants couldn’t, then there may be enough upside there to vault him over Frazier and Wilson into a roster spot.
There are almost always a few surprises when we see the final 53-man roster. But if we pay attention between now and then, guys like Darian Thompson may not be under the radar by late August.