When Darian Thompson showed up for his rookie minicamp, the Giants coaches were impressed right away with his ability to run the defense from the free safety position. In the very first workout he was yelling orders and making checks to get everyone lined up properly.
In some ways it was easy. Those players at that camp were just as lost and in just as much of a fog as Thompson was. They were all rookies.
On Wednesday, Thompson, a third-round pick out of Boise State, was doing the same thing in a Giants OTA. This time, though, he was doing it with the starting defense.
He shrugged at the difference.
“It hasn’t changed,” he said. “It’s an attribute I have as a player and I’m going to continue to try to be that way.”
The Giants coaches still like it, too.
“He hasn’t backed down from the communication part of things,” Ben McAdoo said. “You see that. It’s evident.”
Also evident has been Thompson’s play. He’s been living up to his reputation as a ball-hawk. Last week he had an interception in practice, and on Wednesday he picked up a loose ball after it was fumbled by tight end Matt LaCosse.
“He has a nose for the football whether it’s picking a ball off or being able to scoop-and-score, which he showed today,” McAdoo said. “That part of the game comes natural for him.”
It could help him stand out in a position where there is a clear opening for a starting job. Other candidates to play alongside Landon Collins at safety include Nat Berhe, Mykkele Thompson and Bennett Jackson (who has been playing more as a nickel back than a safety this offseason). On Wednesday, though, it was Thompson’s chance to run with the ones.
“Right now it doesn’t change much,” he said of the opportunity. “I’m sure when we start getting ready for the season it’ll change a little bit . . . I’m just happy to be here right now. Whatever happens when it’s time to kick off the season, that’s what happens.”
In the meantime, Thompson has no plans to back off his barking. Not even when he is with the veterans, or even when he is uncertain of what the proper call should be.
“I’m not really scared to be wrong, especially out here at practice,” he said. “I don’t think you have to be less vocal [because you are a rookie]. Being vocal comes with that position regardless of what year you are in.”