2019 Supplemental Draft: How high of a pick will Jalen Thompson cost?

Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images
Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images /

Washington State safety Jalen Thompson is widely considered the best player in the 2019 NFL Supplemental Draft. Where will he end up and what will it cost?

It is rare to find a major contributor in the NFL supplemental draft. That being said, we have a good one in the mix this year in Washington State safety Jalen Thompson.

On film, Thompson looks like a receiver, showing great ball skills and return abilities.  He plays zone coverage well and has very good hands for a defensive player. Thompson does a fantastic job of attacking the ball in the air, consistently making a play at the high point.

Thompson has a passion for the game and an undomesticated wildness to his game that fans can’t help but find infectious. He pumps up his teammates with his intensity of play that we see in his celebratory movements immediately after the play.

A level of intensity like this is a very underrated trait. This will allow a player to consistently play locked in. He also has impressive overall versatility, playing both safety and cornerback in college. Thompson is an extremely interesting prospect in the supplemental draft who is getting a lot of attention.

First, from Pro Football Focus:

Many teams are looking for a versatile safety that can cover and tackle from different alignments, everyone wants a playmaker and Thompson has the skill set to be that guy. However, he is not a perfect player.

Eric Edholm of Yahoo Sports summed up some of the questions and flaws in his game:

“Thompson’s size (he reportedly weighed in at a shade over 5-10 and 186 pounds at his NFL workout Monday) is concerning on the NFL level considering he plays with an aggressive, hard-hitting style. Sometimes that quality works against him, as Thompson can be seen whiffing on some tackles while trying to deliver big blows. He also could have trouble defending bigger receivers for jump balls.”

Last but not least, a quick scouting report from Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports:

"“Good height, smaller-ish frame for the safety position,” Trapasso wrote. “Athleticism is impressive. Very fluid, non-jagged mover in any direction. Hybrid safety/slot cornerback with experience and effective play in man to man.”“Quickness is more impressive than his overall speed,” he continued. “Lack of size and strength shows up on occasion against bigger blockers in the run game, but he’s a noticeably aggressive, active run defender with solid range. Plus body control, awareness, and ball skills to make game-changing plays in coverage.”"

The Cleveland Browns come to mind as a possible landing spot for Thompson in Wednesday’s supplemental draft, as his size and versatility seem to fit what they have been looking for in the secondary. They may be set in the secondary though, as they may be the only team with that kind of depth at that specific body type of safety.  On the other hand, they really seem to covet players like Thompson.

Their AFC North rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals could also be in the mix. Both teams would undoubtedly benefit from having a player that can hold up against the run and the pass, specifically when going against the Baltimore Ravens.

I’m also looking at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who can use an upgrade at safety and could be headed towards a significant youth movement. I like the fit with the Green Bay Packers, who have drafted a lot of young talent in the secondary in recent years.

If I were a team, I’d either offer my mid to late third-round pick or early fourth-round pick, depending on how confident I am in my team to win many games next season. However, a late second or early third would not be an overpay for Thompson.

Next. 2019 NFL Draft grades and analysis for all 32 teams. dark

I predict him to go in the third round to a team that lacks a decent third safety option and wants to be able to go to a smaller lineup when speed is needed. I expect him to be a productive third safety right away with the potential to grow into a big-time long-term asset.