2022 NFL Draft Profile: San Diego State DB Trenton Thompson
Thompson was a mainstay in the Aztecs stingy defensive backfield. What will entice NFL teams to call his name at this year’s draft?
A quiet and versatile contributor.
NFL fans have surely noticed by now that San Diego State has had a knack for putting defensive backs into the pros: Leon McFadden, Damontae Kazee, Darren Hall. The Aztecs have built one of college football’s most restrictive no-fly zones over the past decade or so thanks to a long line of contributors to the back end of their feared 3-3-5 defense.
In 2021, a good deal of that credit goes to Trenton Thompson, a Palm Springs, California native who came up through the system and capped his collegiate career with 14 pass breakups and three interceptions as a starting safety for the West division and Frisco Bowl champions. Could he be the next Aztec defender to hear his name at the NFL Draft?
Measurables (taken from Dane Brugler and DraftScout.com)
Height – 6′ and 1″
Weight – 196 pounds
40-yard time – 4.58 seconds
10-yard split time – 1.60 seconds
Arm length – 32″
Hand size – 9 1/4″
Wingspan – 75 1/4″
Vertical jump – 35 1/2″
Broad jump – 9′ and 11″ (or 119″)
Shuttle time – 4.26 seconds
3-cone drill time – 7.20 seconds
Bench press – 11 reps
— San Diego State Football (@AztecFB) October 16, 2021
— San Diego State Football (@AztecFB) October 24, 2021
Though Thompson wasn’t a full-time starter until this past season, he had plenty of opportunities to prove himself as a rangy pass defender and a rugged run stopper over the past several years, collecting 21 pass breakups and 12 tackles for loss from 2018 to 2021. He has the instincts to diagnose plays as they develop and enough speed to get to where he needs to be in order to make a play, whether that’s snuffing out screens or providing safety help over the top.
Better yet, Thompson also contributed on special teams throughout his Aztecs career, blocking two punts and scoring off of two others over the past four seasons. If nothing else, that versatility could catch the eye of some position coaches at the next level.
The downside of spending six years with the Aztecs is that Thompson now enters this draft class as one of its oldest safety prospects, meaning that teams may see limited upside for growth going forward. He also lacks the top-end speed that many of those younger prospects possess, so whatever role he eventually carves out for himself will depend on the ability to stretch his intangibles as far as they can go.
It seems to me that Thompson is being underrated as a safety prospect because he does so many of the little things well that can help someone hang around the NFL for a good long while. If I was in a war room advising a coaching staff, I’d recommend they take a late-round flyer on him and I think that’s what will ultimately happen: He may have to wait, but he’ll hear his name called late on Day Three, likely in the seventh round.