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New York Giants Training Camp Player Preview: S Trenton Thompson – Sports Illustrated

New York Giants safety Trenton Thompson is a classic case of a lesser-known college player who gradually got better each year, working his way from obscurity to a starter for the San Diego State Aztecs defense.
He began his college career as a backup to Malik Smith, a three-time all-Mountain West prospect, during the 2016 season, Thompson's true freshman year. The following season, Thompson sat out due to an injury, so he redshirted. In 2018, he began to see an increase in his snaps, appearing in 13 games with eight starts, and then in the 2019 season, getting five starts.
Like most of his peers, Thompson took advantage of an extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA due to the COVID pandemic, which turned out to be a wise decision. He finished the 2021 campaign as a second-team College Football Focus All-American and was named a third-team Pro Football Network All-American to the All-Mountain West first team.  
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Thanks to his extra year of eligibility, Thompson is tied with Tayler Hawkins for most career games played for the Aztecs (57).
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Thompson has good overall speed and, of course, versatility, the latter being the common characteristic shared by many of this year's rostered Giants.
Thompson, who was finally named a full-time starter in his final year at San Diego State, is an instinctive player against the run and pass coverage. Possessing good size (6-foot-2 and 200 pounds), Thompson showed good eye discipline in zone coverage to undercut other routes. He can also play some man on tight ends and has a history of delivering big hits against opponents.
Thompson, who lacks top-end speed, makes up for that with better-than-average instincts, which he uses to diagnose plays as they develop so he can get himself into a position to make plays. He finished his college career with four interceptions and 23 pass breakups over 2,378 total snaps (six seasons).
Thompson is also a dynamo on special teams, ranking fourth in school history with two blocked punts. He also recorded 13 tackles on special teams, giving him yet another advantage over some of his competition seeking to make the Giants' 53-man roster. 
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Thompson signed a three-year contract as an undrafted free agent. The total value of his deal is $2.572 million, and it includes a $12,500 signing bonus. In the first year of the deal, he'll count for $709,166 against the cap, of which $17,500 of his base salary is guaranteed.
If Thompson doesn't make the roster, the Giants will save $687,500 against this year's cap and have to eat dead money charges of $21,666 this year and $8,336 next year.
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Thompson will compete with fellow undrafted rookie free agent safety Yusuf Corker for the projected fourth safety spot on the Giants' roster. Thompson's special teams production could give him the competitive edge and be his ticket to a spot on the 53-man roster. 
Patricia Traina has covered the New York Giants for 30+ seasons. She is the host of the LockedOn Giants podcast and the author of “The Big 50: New York Giants: The Men and Moments that Made the New York Giants” (Triumph Books). 


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