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.”

Presented By
Western Governors University

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort talks to reporters...

Tyler Drake

Monti Ossenfort keeping trade options open as Cardinals’ draft board nears completion

The Arizona Cardinals have about 95% of their draft board completed about a week out from the NFL Draft and continue to look at all avenues.

18 hours ago

Monti Ossenfort looks on during the 2023 NFL Draft Combine...

Tyler Drake

Daniel Jeremiah: NFL Draft is Cardinals’ moment to set up franchise for years to come

The 2024 NFL Draft marks a big set-your-franchise-up situation for the Arizona Cardinals, says NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah.

22 hours ago

Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill speaks at a press conference...

Tyler Drake

Michael Bidwill: Cardinals ‘aligned on getting this thing right’ in 2024

Michael Bidwill believes the Cardinals aren't that far off from really turning things around under Jonathan Gannon and Monti Ossenfort.

2 days ago

Marvin Harrison Jr....

Nick Borgia

Marvin Harrison Jr. remains Cardinals top pick in latest ESPN mock

With the 2024 NFL draft just around the corner, ESPN's latest mock draft details what could be in store for the Cardinals' first six picks.

3 days ago

Rome Odunze...

Kevin Zimmerman

Peter Schrager’s NFL mock draft has a surprising Cardinals trade-down with Giants

Peter Schrager believes the New York Giants could trade with the Arizona Cardinals, who move down to the No. 6 pick to select Rome Odunze.

3 days ago

Trey McBride works out...

Tyler Drake

Tweaked process, same message: Cardinals begin strength and conditioning program

Arizona Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon isn't the biggest believer in picking up where you left off, especially on a year-to-year basis.

4 days ago

Cardinals S Jalen Thompson taking next step to further establish himself