Few expected former Alabama standout Deionte Thompson to fall to Day 3 on the NFL Draft, but there’s a legitimate reason for his slip into the fifth round and it had nothing to do with his play on the field according to veteran NFL analyst Ian Rapoport.
Teams discovered Thompson had a “degenerative knee condition” during the pre-draft process, an ailment many franchises couldn’t look past in the early rounds with healthier players available. In fact, Thompson’s condition removed him from several draft boards altogether, Rapoport says.
“It explains his fall,” Rapoport tweeted.
Previously, Thompson’s draft fall to the fifth round to the Arizona Cardinals was mostly attributed to his late-season struggles in coverage as a junior and he didn’t get a chance to alter that narrative after missing the NFL Combine following offseason wrist surgery. Still, the hard-hitting safety was selected as a consensus first-team All-America honoree after earning the accolades from the Associated Press, The Sporting News and the AFCA. He was also a second-team All-America selection by Walter Camp and the FWAA.
Thompson recorded two interceptions during his final season to go along with a team-high four forced fumbles and 79 tackles.
Thompson was the No. 2-ranked safety, No. 10 player in the state of Texas and the No. 44-rated overall player in the 2015 recruiting cycle, according to the 247Sports Composite.
“I thought his play was a little bit up and down toward the end of the year,” ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said after Thompson was picked 139th overall. “He had some opportunities to take the ball away and didn’t, and he didn’t finish the way I expected him to based on the beginning of the season. … But I still think he’s going to be a good player in the league.