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Cardinals’ Jalen Thompson believes he was a ‘steal’ in supplemental draft

Wide receiver Jay MacIntyre #14 of the Colorado Buffaloes is tackled by safety Jalen Thompson #34 of the Washington State Cougars after making a catch during the third quarter at Folsom Field on November 19, 2016 in Boulder, Colorado. Colorado defeated Washington State 38-24. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Arizona Cardinals rookie safety Jalen Thompson wasn’t planning on being at an NFL training camp this Summer.

But that changed quickly when the NCAA took away Thompson’s last year of eligibility at Washington State at the end of June.

WSU’s head coach Mike Leach confirmed a report by The Spokesman-Review that Thompson had purchased an over-the-counter supplement that was not a steroid. A banned substance in the supplement is what violated NCAA rules.

After learning that, Thompson decided to put his name in the supplemental draft.

He was picked in the fifth round by the Cardinals in July and signed a four-year deal with the team a week later.

Thompson joined 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Bickley & Marotta to discuss what it was like after learning about the loss of eligibility and how his short time with the Cardinals has gone so far.

“[I] tried to appeal it, but they denied the appeal sometime in June,” Thompson said. “As soon as I found out, I just flew out and instantly started training getting ready for the supplementary draft.”

Due to going in the supplemental draft, Thompson missed OTAs and has had limited time to train for the upcoming season. However, he is not concerned with the lack of team practice.

“It’s nothing for me, I feel like I can get the plays down,” he said. “Working under guys like Budda Baker, D.J. Swearinger guys like that I feel like I will get it down pretty quickly.”

Thompson thought other teams misjudged his character and that was the reason other teams didn’t draft him.

“I feel like the Cardinals did get a steal in me,” Thompson said. “I’m going to bring some hard work to the team, dedication and just working hard every day, that’s what I’m going to bring.

“I feel like a lot of teams looked past me because they probably thought I was a troublemaker, a cheater or something like that.”

The supplemental draft isn’t like the NFL Draft where it’s on TV. Because there was nowhere to watch the draft, Thompson said he had to look to social media to find out if he had been drafted.

“I had to look on Twitter to pretty much see where I would get picked up,” he said during Cardinals training camp. “I saw something that the Colts had picked me up at one point, but it was just a mistake or something like that. It got deleted really quick.”

As far as positions go, Thompson told reporters Friday that he plans on playing both nickel and safety as he continues to learn them through training camp.

“I’m trying to learn strong safety, free safety and nickel for the most part,” he said. “It’s a little harder for me because I got to learn all three in a shorter amount of time, but I feel like I’m getting it down.”

When asked about how losing Patrick Peterson for a six-game suspension will affect the secondary, Thompson felt good about where that part of the defense is at.

“They’ve all made it very friendly for me,” he said. “They brought me in like I’m their brother, so I feel like the comradery is pretty good around the team.

“When I came in with all the other rookies a couple of weeks ago, they made me feel like I’ve been a part of their program for a couple of years now.”

He also believes the secondary will be good just based on the family-like atmosphere.

“That family feel, I feel like they have that here at Arizona,” Thompson said. “For the most part, I feel like our secondary is going to be pretty good just because of that aspect.”

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