Player Interviews

Darian Thompson Chats with Chargers, Studies Eric Weddle


The Chargers are making no secret of their intentions to acquire a new free safety. GM Tom Telesco has already announced his plans to trim The Beard, meaning he must find someone else to patrol centerfield in 2016.

The Chargers got a little more familiar with one leading candidate during Senior Bowl week.

Senior executive Randy Mueller met with safety Darian Thompson (6’2”, 215 lbs.) on Tuesday in Mobile, Ala. The Boise State product intercepted 19 passes over the last three seasons.

Some scouts have summarized Thompson’s penchant for takeaways by saying, “the ball just finds him,” but Thompson believes it is not that simple.

“A lot of the interceptions I have been able to come up with come from film study and preparation the week before,” he said. “Although it may look like the ball came straight to me, it was probably something I did before to make the quarterback think the receiver or the route was open.”

Thompson spends tons of time in the film room, where he studies not only opposing offenses, but also top-tier safeties he can mimic.

One such safety? Eric Weddle.

“Eric Weddle is an extremely great safety,” Thompson said. “He’s someone I watch all the time. I just happened to beat his Mountain West record (for career interceptions). I was very blessed for that opportunity.

“I’ve seen what he’s done in the league and hopefully I can follow his footsteps. I know those are big footsteps to fill, but if I was able to come to San Diego, I would be ready to play Day One. I would like to show the guys there that I’m professional and ready for this opportunity.”

It’s easy to see the connections between Thompson and Weddle.  Although Thompson is 3 inches taller, both have similar builds. They are also both instinctive players with tremendous range.

And there’s another thing both players do exceptionally well: bait opposing quarterbacks.

“[Weddle] does a really good job baiting,” Thompson explained. “That’s actually where I got some of my skills from. I was able to figure out what he thought the quarterback was going to be looking at or what the quarterback thought [Weddle] was doing and happened to be wrong and made a mistake with the football. [Weddle] does a very good job with that and I think I try to model my game after him in that aspect.”

Thompson began selling himself to Chargers scouts in Mobile. The process will continue in February at the NFL Combine.

Throughout the entire process, Thompson will attempt to convince the Chargers he is worth the No. 35 overall pick it would take to acquire him.

“I want to show people I have a knack for the football,” he said. “I can make big plays for the defense and ultimately get the ball back for the offense. Also, I’m an extremely hard worker. I try to finish every single play. I will be consistent and work hard.”

Michael Lombardo has covered the San Diego Chargers since 2003. He spent 12 years covering the team for and has also been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports, and MySpace Sports. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter @NFLinsider_Mike.

About Michael Lombardo

Michael Lombardo has covered the San Diego Chargers since 2003. He spent 12 years covering the team for and has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports, Football Insiders and MySpace Sports.

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