The Seahawks selected free safety Tedric Thompson of Colorado in the fourth round of the NFL Draft Saturday morning.
The Seattle Seahawks went again to the secondary with their first pick of the third day of the NFL Draft Saturday morning, selecting safety Tedric Thompson of Colorado.
Thompson, listed at 6-foot, 204 pounds, is the third defensive back Seattle has taken in seven picks so far, joining cornerback Shaquill Griffin and safety Delano Hill, each taken in the third round on Friday. Seattle had not drafted a safety earlier than the sixth round since taking Earl Thomas in the first round in 2010.
Thompson, a native of Valencia, Calif., was an All-Pac-12 second team pick last year as a strong safety in a daunting Buffs’ secondary that helped Colorado win the South Division title before losing to Washington in the conference title game, tying with teammate Ahkello Witherspoon for the lead among all players in FBS with 23 passes defensed (seven interceptions, 16 passes broken up).
Seattle has four more picks today — two in the sixth round (187 and 210) and two more in the seventh (226 and 249).
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The Seahawks were known looking for some safety depth after so far not having re-signed either of last year’s backups — Kelcie McCray and Steven Terrell. Seattle signed free agent Bradley McDougald to a one-year contract worth $1.8 million but otherwise had little depth at safety on the roster entering the draft.
While Thompson played primarily strong safety at Colorado, some scouts have projected him as a free safety in the NFL and that would make sense as his initial position with Seattle given that Hill is expected to be a strong safety to begin.
Terrell in particular struggled when he had to step in and replace Thomas for the final month of the regular season and the playoffs.
In a conference call with Seattle reporters following his pick, Thompson said Seattle was one of the places he wanted to go in the draft.
“I enjoy watching Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor and just knowing that I’m going to a team with those guys and learn from those guys,” Thompson said. ”It’s just a blessing.”
Thompson suffered a severe concussion in 2014 that caused him to miss four games. But he returned to play every game his final two seasons and finished his career with 13 interceptions, tied for fifth on CU’s all-time list as well as tied for the most over the last 23 seasons.
Thompson said he sees himself as able to play at either safety spot.
“I’ve been playing both since I was a freshman in college,” Thompson said.
And while Thompson could help as immediate depth, the Seahawks could also be looking to groom some safeties as eventual replacements for their starters.
Chancellor is entering the final year of his contract while Thomas has two years remaining on his deal. At the least, the Seahawks appear to be preparing options for down the road.
Thompson is following his brother, Cedric, into the NFL. Cedric, who played at Minnesota, is on the roster of the Vikings.
Tedric said his brother told him “to go out there and have fun because it’s the game we’ve been playing since we were little kids.”
NFL.com wrote of Thompson: “Thompson in an instinctive cover safety with strong ball skills and a history of production during his time at Colorado. Lacks physicality to operate around the box, but his football intelligence and playmaking skills will get him drafted and could give him a shot at eventually starting.”
And wrote Pro Football Focus: “Thompson is a safety that despite lacking top-end athletic measurable, is able to make up for it with great anticipation and awareness. His ball skills are every bit as outstanding as his stat line suggests, which makes him an interesting long-term study in terms of production vs. athletic capacity. With such a loaded class, his disappointing combine numbers are likely to push him to the middle rounds, but there’s a well-roundedness to his game that suggests he could develop into a starter.”