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Name to Know: Safety Thompson Adds Versatility


(Editor's Note: With training camp finally beginning, there are countless names that will shape the way this Cowboys season plays out. On a team with this much star power, some of those names are better known than others. This series seeks to identify some of the unheralded members of the Cowboys' roster, highlighting how they might make the team and have an impact on the 2020 season.)

  • Who Is He? Safety Darian Thompson
  • How Did He Get Here? Thompson joined the Cowboys during the 2018 season, looking to resurrect his career. He was a third-round pick (71st overall) by the Giants in 2016 – actually taken a round before Dak Prescott. But while he started all 16 games for the Giants in 2017, he was let go by New York the following season. After a quick stop with the Cardinals, Thompson joined the Cowboys in 2018, where he played in 10 games and then 15 last year with four starts.
  • Career Highlight: His best game of his career was arguably a 2017 game with the Giants against the Chargers in which Thompson had his only interception and 11 tackles. But playing mostly as a backup in Dallas, Thompson hasn't had many big moments. But he did start four games last season replacing an injured Jeff Heath. Against the Bears, Thompson recorded his first full sack of the season, to go along with nine tackles and another quarterback hit. The Cowboys lost the game, but Thompson proved he could make the most of his starting opportunity, especially in a blitzing role close to the line of scrimmage.
  • How Does He Make It: Let's not forget, certain players who have been around this team before were actually re-signed by the Cowboys and this coaching staff back in March. So yes, Thompson is a holdover, but one that was brought back with the intent to compete and possibly start. To be on the team, he'll have to beat out Donovan Wilson and some other youngsters, but he probably has aspirations to start. To do that, he needs to be a more viable option than Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and/or Xavier Woods.
  • How He Can Help: Thompson showed at times last season why he was once a third-round pick. He's got good athleticism and quickness to the ball, but also provides quite a punch when he gets there. He's got a knack for making plays around the goal line. So Thompson should be at least the third safety who can play in nickel and dime packages. He's also a core special teams player that will fit into that role. Last year, he finished second on the team with eight tackles on special team. Plus, he can slide into either starting spot if needed.

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