Alabama Crimson Tide safety Deionte Thompson announced Sunday he's decided to forgo his senior season to enter the 2019 NFL draft:
Thompson, like most Tide players, arrived in Tuscaloosa as a highly touted recruit. He was a 4-star prospect, the No. 44 overall player and the second-best safety in the 2015 class, per 247Sports' composite rankings.
He was forced to wait his turn behind Bama's seemingly endless stream of pro prospects, though. But it gave him a chance to learn from the likes of Eddie Jackson, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Ronnie Harrison.
Thompson finally moved into a full-time role in 2018 and showcased his high-end upside. He racked up 78 total tackles, six passes defended, two interceptions and three forced fumbles in 14 games.
As part of his October scouting report on the defensive back, Dalton Miller of CowboysWire called the safety a "true centerfield prospect" who "plays at a different speed than the other 21 guys on the field when hunting for the football in the air":
"His click-and-close ability is the best in a prospect since Malik Hooker left Ohio State for the 2017 NFL draft. Thompson's length is a weapon, it allows him to take more aggressive angles when playing passes near the sideline. The length also helps keep him off the body of the receiver, as he is able to reach through to break up a pass without illegal contact."
Those traits combined with his football IQ make him an intriguing prospect who should make a smooth transition to the NFL.
Ultimately, the only notable concern for Thompson is his lack of experience at the college level compared to most prospects, but the impact he made this season suggests it's not a significant issue. He played in several marquee games with Alabama and was up to the task.
He's on track to land in the first round and could earn himself a spot in the top 10 with a strong performance throughout the draft process.