Cardinals take ‘Bama S Deionte Thompson, who downplays knee issue
TEMPE, Ariz. — Starting defensive backs the Arizona Cardinals have. It might be their best position group as it stands, but the depth chart looks thin to murky.
The Cardinals have addressed those issues through the NFL Draft and Saturday led off the fifth round by taking Alabama safety Deionte Thompson.
“We don’t have a post safety that really has the range and movement skill as this guy,” Arizona general manager Steve Keim said.
A high-profile recruit to the Crimson Tide, Thompson redshirted his first year and was a backup safety his freshman and sophomore seasons.
He got a chance to produce as a junior in 2018, recording 78 tackles with 3.5 for loss. Thompson added six passes defensed, two interceptions and three forced fumbles for the national runner-up squad.
Thompson had the fourth-highest forced incompletion percentage among safeties in the draft class, according to Pro Football Focus. He was ranked 66th on PFF’s big board, giving Arizona six players in the top-66 of the service’s board through 139 picks.
“I’m not worried about where I got picked. It really doesn’t matter. I got an opportunity and that’s all you can ask for in this day and age.”
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound safety did not go through the NFL Draft Combine after suffering a ligament tear in his wrist while lifting.
“I’ve been cleared by my doctors to do everything full-go, so I’m ready to go,” he said.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Thompson’s fall to the fifth round was possibly related to a degenerative knee condition. Thompson said the issue is related to a 2017 knee surgery to repair his meniscus that at the time only cost him about a month of time.
“I don’t know too much about it,” Thompson said Saturday. “It just came about today. I heard the information like everybody else did.
“I’m not too worried about it.”
Keim and the Cardinals medical staff does not see the issue as a concern.
“I can tell you a few guys who have probably put on gold jackets that I’ve scouted that I remember us failing them on the physical,” the GM said. “We didn’t have any issues with it.”
Thompson joins an Arizona safety group led by D.J. Swearinger and Budda Baker. Third-year pro Rudy Ford and second-year pro Jonathan Owens are the other two safeties listed on the roster.
The Cardinals so far have taken three defensive players in the 2019 draft. They used their first of two second-round picks on Washington cornerback Byron Murphy and in the fourth round selected Boston College defensive end Zach Allen.