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Giants upbeat about DB Mykkele Thompson's potential

Oregon's Marcus Mariota is chased by Texas' Mykkele

Oregon's Marcus Mariota is chased by Texas' Mykkele Thompson and Carrington Byndom during the first quarter in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013, in San Antonio. Credit: AP / Eric Gay

Mykkele Thompson hoped he'd be in some team's rookie camp this week. He just didn't expect to be heading into it with the status of a draft pick.

Speaking of his pre-draft expectations, the defensive back out of Texas said: "Me thinking that I didn't put that good of numbers up this past season, I thought free agency was going to be the main goal probably.''

So he was as shocked as anyone when the Giants selected him in the fifth round Saturday. On Friday he'll be one of 60 to 65 players on the field for the start of the team's rookie minicamp. Most will be trying to prove the NFL wrong, showing that they slipped through the scouting cracks and deserve to be in the league.

Thompson will be trying to prove the Giants right.

"Honestly, I'll play wherever they want me to,'' he said. "In college I played every defensive back position, so wherever they want me to go, that's where I'll play. And, of course, special teams is really big.''

The Giants were the only team in the NFL that invited Thompson for a pre-draft visit. His name did not even appear in many scouting books. Now, given the dearth of experience the Giants have at the position, he could find himself fighting for a starting role when the season gets closer.

"He was really smart on the board,'' Giants vice president of player evaluation Marc Ross said of the visit. "Playing-wise, he's a competitor, he's really smart and they played him in a bunch of different positions. He was in the slot, free and strong [safety spots]. He can handle that in game. He can run. The kid can run. He is not your classic corner, not your classic safety, but we think he can provide versatility. More of a free safety for us.''

"We felt like in Thompson we had a guy that actually will go very well with Landon Collins,'' Tom Coughlin said of matching his second- and fifth-round picks. "It also has been said that Thompson can play some nickel. We do have some guys that can play over the slot. We'll just have to play that out as we work.''

That begins Friday for Thompson and every other player at the camp. Some are on tryouts. Some are just bodies to fill the positions on the field. All are trying to make an impression.

Even those who have the security of having been drafted.

New York Sports