Finding Broncos: Scouting San Diego State S Tariq Thompson

Finding Broncos scouts the 2021 NFL draft class to find the best Mile High fits. What's the scoop on Tariq Thompson and how would he fit in Denver?
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Welcome to Finding Broncos, our annual prospect-by-prospect series deep-diving on the coming NFL draft class. The scouting continues with San Diego State safety Tariq Thompson, a talented prospect, but does he fit with the Broncos?


  • Height: 6 foot
  • Weight: 200 pounds




  • Has a high football IQ and always seems to be in the right spot.
  • Good tackling technique with enough consistency to be confident.
  • More than willing to mix it up as a run defender.
  • Ball skills are excellent.
  • Versatility is there to play in multiple schemes and roles.
  • Can come down and help out in the nickel.
  • Rarely will see him out of position.
  • Will compete at every catch point to break up the pass.

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  • Lacks good speed which can hurt his range.
  • Would be nice to see him explode more when coming downhill.
  • Would be nice to see more as a tackler or bring a little more pop.
  • Not the best of athletes and lacks great short-area quickness.
  • May not have the most upside to be a full-time starter in the NFL.
  • While he can work in man or zone, he is more effective in zone.


Thompson is a solid safety that can bring a little bit of everything to almost any defensive scheme. There seems to be limited upside, which could see him be just a number three guy and a key special teams player.

His football IQ can carry him a long ways in the NFL and if he does end up as a quality starter, that is going to be a big reason for it. Most of his issues are coachable or somewhat easy to cover up. This is a type of player that can be very appealing to coaches.

Fit with Broncos

Denver needs to find safety help with Kareem Jackson on a one-year deal, and Thompson can be some help. While I question his ability to be a full time starter, Denver’s depth at the position also needs a boost and that is where Thompson can help.

His best scheme fit is what Denver runs under Vic Fangio, and offers up enough versatility to find a role if any coaching changes come after the 2021 season. Thompson is a bit of a safer pick and the Broncos can do with a couple of safe picks this year.

Grade: Round 3

Where he goes: Round 4

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