The Giants picked safety Darian Thompson in the third round of the draft in order to improve a defense that was towards the bottom of the NFL last season. While at Boise State, Thompson set the Mountain West Conference record for career interceptions.
“First of all, I’m an extremely smart football player,” Thompson said. “I know how to study film and diagnose plays and put myself in the right spot in order to make plays and make turnovers. I think that’s what I do best. I have a knack for the football, and I feel like an interception is just as much as a touchdown, so that’s what I’m going after.”
Now Thompson goes from playing in Idaho to playing for the Giants. “I have had a chance to watch the Giants, and they’re always a good football team,” Thompson said. “To be able to get out there and play with some of those guys that we see all the time on TV and commercials and things like that, and to be a part of the team and to help them achieve their or goal of winning the Super Bowl, is just awesome to me.”
New York is hoping that the interceptions will carry over to the NFL. “This guy’s a ball hawk,” said Marc Ross, Vice President of Player Evaluation. “His instincts are what separates. He can anticipate where a route is, where a ball is going and he jumps on it. And that’s what distinguishes him with making interceptions.”
Boise State has become a fan favorite of college football fans over the last decade, but some of the players feel added motivation due to the fact that they weren’t wanted by teams in major conferences. Even now that he’s in the NFL, Thompson still has a chip on his shoulder.
“Everybody on that team has a chip on their shoulder because they weren’t picked or chosen to go to a bigger school, so everybody has an attitude and everybody has a chip on their shoulder like I was talking about. I still have that chip. Regardless of where I would have gone tonight, or tomorrow, or whenever it would have been, I would have that chip. I’m just excited to bring it to New York. I’m excited to bring it to the Giants and to see what happens from there.”
The interceptions and the potential outweighed not playing in a major conference. Part of that is because Boise State isn’t a typical small conference program. “Boise State is a big time program,” Ross said. “They’re a different mid-major. They’re big time, so they’ve had players, first round picks, the whole deal. They’re there with all of the other upper echelon teams.”
Thompson is a versatile player who can tackle in addition to picking off quarterbacks. “I studied Darian on a couple different occasions with some film off of a point of attack tape and off of game film and he is someone that jumped out at me,” said head coach Ben McAdoo. “High character guy, good ball skills, he can tackle in the open field and he plays in a variety of roles. He can play back in the post, he can play back in safety split looks and he can play down in the slot — he did that a lot in their fire zones.”