The Philadelphia Eagles spent a lot of money on the safety position this offseason. The team signed Malcolm Jenkins to a four-year contract extension worth up to $35 million before going out in NFL free agency and inking Rodney McLeod to a deal worth up to $35 million over five years. Despite this, the Eagles might not be done adding safeties to their roster. Head coach Doug Pederson identified Philadelphia's secondary as one of the team's remaining needs. He specifically mentioned that the Eagles will possibly look to add a safety in the 2016 NFL Draft.
It makes sense, then, that the Eagles have shown repeated interest in Boise State safety Darian Thompson. Not only did the Birds speak with him at the Senior Bowl, but they also recently put him through a private workout.
The 22-year-old Thompson measures in at 6-2, 212 pounds. After playing all four years at Boise State, Thompson finished his college career with 209 tackles, 17 interceptions, six passes defensed, two forced fumbles, and one sack.
Darian Thompson stood out among not only the other safeties at the Senior Bowl, but probably all of the defensive backs. Standing at 6-2, 215, Thompson has incredible build to pair with really good athletic ability. He is a very cerebral player who can play at any level of the field and isn't afraid to get down and dirty as a tackler. He was awesome in practices and in interviews, so with the value being put on the safety position, I wouldn't be shocked to see him be the second one taken come the draft.
The Eagles might not need another starting safety but they do need depth behind Jenkins and McLeod. There's no clear No. 3 safety right now. A rookie would be competing with Ed Reynolds and Jerome Couplin for that spot. Having a good third safety would also potentially free up Jenkins to play in the slot at times, which is a role where he excels.
For what it's worth, CBS Sports projects Thompson to be a third round pick. Here's a scouting report on Thompson via NFL.com.
"Strengths - Tall, angular build for the position. Eye-popping interception numbers (19) becoming the all-time leader in Boise State history this season. Soft hands and can make difficult, diving interceptions. Willing to take a chance to undercut throws and will run through receivers catch point to disrupt. Ready hitter with desired physical demeanor to play around line of scrimmage. Willing to sacrifice his body against pulling linemen in order to cave in the edge. Able to bob and weave around traffic and consistently choose the correct lane to find running backs. Saw tackle for loss numbers increase each year and will make his own luck on other side of the line.
Weaknesses - Instincts and awareness in coverage will scare coaches when they study the tape. Allowed receivers to get way behind him multiple times against BYU. Undisciplined. Seems to lose track of targets around him and can be baited to vacate his deep responsibilities by crossing routes in front of him. Allowed 10 touchdowns over last three years. Needs to play with more technique and less improv. Hip tightness hinders ability to open quickly and run with necessary speed to close separation. Plays tall in space and quick lateral movement and basic change of direction can be a challenge at times. Needs to slow and gather himself when charging downhill to avoid missed tackles."