In his most recent mock draft, Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley thinks defense for the Redskins in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft with the selection of Deionte Thompson.
It has been 12 years since the Redskins drafted a safety in the first round. Will they flip the script and add the ball hawking safety out of Alabama?
Thompson arrived in Tuscaloosa like most other Nick Saban recruits, highly touted and highly ranked. He came in as the No. 44-overall player in the 2015 class, but earned a redshirt his freshman season. He had to wait his turn behind a stacked secondary where pro prospects were aplenty in the likes of Minkah Fitzpatrick (Miami Dolphins), Eddie Jackson (Chicago Bears), and Ronnie Harrison (Jacksonville Jaguars).
Thompson’s abilities were primarily on display for the Crimson Tide’s special teams unit his first two years of action in 2016 and 2017, but when moved to the secondary as a starter in 2018, Thompson proved to be one of the top safeties in college football.
According to his Draft Network player profile, Thompson has “size, length and his speed is impressive. Physical and athletic safety prospect with excellent closing burst on routes breaking in front of him. Plays fast and aggressive. Constantly looking to get in on the action, typical Alabama mindset to dictate terms as a tackler.”
During his redshirt junior season in 2018, Thompson flashed his high upside. He totaled 78 tackles with six pass breakups. He also had two interceptions and forced four fumbles in 14 games.
Thompson was named a mid-season, as well as a first-team, All-American by the Associated Press after leading the Tide with 46 solo tackles, while adding 3.5 for loss. The 6-foot-2, 250-pounder was also named a semi-finalist for the Bednarik Award, given to the top defensive player in the country.
In a 65-31 victory over Arkansas in October, Thompson enjoyed his best performance of what would be his final season in Tuscaloosa. He collected nine tackles, recovered a fumble, and had a pass breakup. In his final collegiate game, Thompson recorded three tackles in a College Football Playoff National Championship loss to the No. 2 ranked Clemson Tigers.
His draft profile continued, as the Draft Network’s Jon Ledyard says Thompson “has the radius to get runners to the ground by wrapping up outside his frame. Will lower the boom when given the opportunity. Can seamlessly adjust his angle to the ball on the fly. Flashes of range in his single high work. Overall fluidity and movement skills to be ideal in man coverage (limited reps on tape). Allowed just one catch in first career start vs. Clemson in the 2018 CFB playoff, which he was millimeters from intercepting.”