Cardinals S Jalen Thompson taking next step to further establish himself

Jun 11, 2022, 7:55 PM | Updated: 7:59 pm

Jalen Thompson #34 of the Arizona Cardinals looks on before the game against the Seattle Seahawks a...

Jalen Thompson #34 of the Arizona Cardinals looks on before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field on November 21, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Three-time Pro Bowl safety Budda Baker has been telling fellow starting safety Jalen Thompson — and anyone in ear shot — that he shouldn’t be the only Arizona Cardinals safety in the Pro Bowl this coming season.

Thompson is entering his fourth year in the NFL and the fifth-round pick out of Washington State still isn’t that heralded of a name despite his strong level of play pretty much since he began getting snaps.

An injury-plagued 2020 robbed him of the type of season he had last year where Thompson essentially proclaimed he was here to stay. Thompson led the Cardinals in solo tackles (79), assisted tackles (42) and total tackles (121). He added three interceptions, seven passes deflected, three tackles for loss and two quarterback hits.

The Pro Bowl isn’t too lofty of a goal for one of the most underrated players in the NFL.

“Just looking forward to taking that next step,” Thompson said Thursday. “Kind of being that leader of the defense, leader of the team. I feel like that’s going to just come with hard work, knowing the plays and knowing my job inside and out.”

A lot of that, of course, comes down to his relationship with Baker. Thompson called Baker a brother and said there’s nothing there in terms of one overshadowing the other.

The two hung out at Baker’s house in the offseason, indulging in what has become a heated ping pong rivalry. There was already a natural connection there from their colleges, as Baker starred at the University of Washington while Thompson was at rival Washington State.

Despite how much Thompson has already proved, his mentality hasn’t changed since his rookie year.

“Just that take every day serious and that no job is secure,” Thompson said. “I go in there every day working and knowing that the next guy is trying to take my spot. This is my profession. I take this serious.”

Arizona Cardinals

Colt McCoy #12 of the Arizona Cardinals throws the ball during the first quarter in the game agains...

Torrence Dunham

Cardinals QB Colt McCoy in lower third of PFF rankings ahead of 2023 season

Pro Football Focus doesn't have much confidence in the quarterback position of the Arizona Cardinals ahead of the 2023 season, ranking starter Colt McCoy in the No. 29 spot out of 32 teams.

1 day ago

Trey McBride taking TEs room under his wing...

Tyler Drake

Trey McBride taking Cardinals’ TEs room under his wing early on in Year 2

After getting his feet wet as a rookie, second-year pro Trey McBride is adding more onto his plate of responsibilities.

4 days ago

BJ Ojulari...

Arizona Sports

ESPN’s Clay projects Cardinals rookie pass rusher BJ Ojulari’s sack total

Ranking nine of the top rookie pass rushers, ESPN's Mike Clay has BJ Ojulari coming in tied for the fifth-most sacks among the draft class.

3 days ago

Zach Allen #94 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates after sacking Mac Jones #10 of the New England P...

Alex Weiner

Ex-Cardinals DL Zach Allen says Vance Joseph a major reason he joined Broncos

Zach Allen joined Vance Joseph with the Denver Broncos this offseason after they both spent four years with the Arizona Cardinals.

2 days ago

DJ Humphries, Arizona Cardinals...

Kevin Zimmerman

PFF: If there’s a strength for 2023 Cardinals, look to the O-line

While there are some questions about the Arizona Cardinals' offensive line, it's a strong position group compared to the rest of the roster.

2 days ago

DeAndre Hopkins #10 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates with fans after Arizona defeated the Chicag...

Arizona Sports

Bills? Cowboys? ESPN lists best fits for DeAndre Hopkins after Cardinals release

DeAndre Hopkins now hits the market after his release from the Cardinals, and ESPN's Jeremy Fowler picked out the best potential fits. 

3 days ago

Cardinals S Jalen Thompson taking next step to further establish himself