Two former Boise State defensive backs who finished in the top five in career interceptions are in the same backfield with the New York Giants, and both are eager to get back into a game.
Safety Darian Thompson, a third-round pick last year, played in the first two games of the 2016 season (with one start), making seven tackles before a foot injury ended his rookie campaign.
“I’m feeling good, so ready for the big things that are coming,” Thompson told The Record.
Cornerback Donte Deayon, undrafted in 2016, signed as a free agent with the Giants and impressed quickly. He did not make the 53-man roster out of the preseason, but was on the practice squad. Deayon didn’t play in a regular season game, injuring his hamstring in week 6, putting him on injured reserve the rest of the way.
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Deayon has been taken under the wing of veteran cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who lends his high-end sports cars to the youngster to grab him lunch, and gave him $100 for each catch he made in practice as a scout team receiver.
“The thing why he’s so valuable, man, is you need a guy that everybody knows is undersized, is small, but the heart and intensity that he brings to this team, can’t nobody match it,” Rodgers-Cromartie told The New York Daily News. “Pound for pound he’s the toughest guy on our team. I tell him that.”
At Boise State, Thompson had 19 career interceptions, and Deayon had 17, third and fifth, respectively. On the Giants’ depth chart, Thompson is listed as a starting free safety, with Deayon a third-team cornerback. The Giants host the Steelers on Friday in their exhibition opener.
“I have a lot of things to work on, I’m not even close to the player I want to be, the player I know I can be,” Thompson said. “There’s so much more to me that you haven’t seen and that I can’t wait to show it all.”
Former Boise State defensive tackle Billy Winn, in his second season with the Denver Broncos, is listed as a backup nose tackle on the roster, but he also has tried a new spot: long snapper.
Winn has worked as the emergency option recently, and he’s performed well.
“Billy looks good, he really does,” special teams coach Brock Olivo said on the team’s website. “He’s big, strong. He’ll get in there. He’s accurate enough. He’ll keep working on it. We’ve been using Billy as the backup snapper on punts, as well. He’ll be in the bullpen when asked.”
Reminder: Chadd Cripe and I will host a Facebook Live session at 3 p.m. Thursday taking your Boise State football questions. Join us at https://www.facebook.com/boisestatesports.
NFL PRESEASON WEEK 1, WITH BOISE STATE TIES
Falcons at Dolphins, 5 p.m.
▪ RB, Jay Ajayi, No. 23 Dolphins
▪ C, Travis Averill, No. 61 Falcons
Vikings at Bills, 5 p.m.
▪ DE, Sam McCaskill, No. 66 Vikings
▪ LB, Tanner Vallejo, No. 40 Bills
Redskins at Ravens, 5:30 p.m.
▪ LB, Kamalei Correa, No. 51 Ravens
Jaguars at Patriots, 5:30 p.m.
▪ S, Jeron Johnson, No. 23 Jaguars
▪ LB, Shea McClellin (Marsing High), No. 58 Patriots
Broncos at Bears, 6 p.m.
▪ DE, Billy Winn, No. 97 Broncos
▪ C, Matt Paradis (Council High), No. 61 Broncos
▪ OL, Charles Leno Jr., No. 72 Bears
Saints at Browns, 6 p.m.
▪ DB, Jamar Taylor, No. 21 Browns
Steelers at Giants, 5 p.m.
▪ DB, Donte Deayon, No. 38 Giants
▪ FS, Darian Thompson, No. 27 Giants
Buccaneers at Bengals, 5:30 p.m.
▪ RB, Doug Martin, No. 22 Buccaneers
▪ RB, Jeremy McNichols, No. 33 Buccaneers
▪ CB, Jonathan Moxey, No. 41 Buccaneers
▪ S, George Iloka, No. 43 Bengals
49ers at Chiefs, 7 p.m.
▪ S, Chanceller James, No. 43 49ers
Cowboys at Rams, 7 p.m.
▪ DL, Tyrone Crawford, No. 98 Cowboys
▪ DE, DeMarcus Lawrence, No. 90 Cowboys
▪ QB, Kellen Moore, No. 17 Cowboys
▪ CB, Orlando Scandrick, No. 32 Cowboys
Lions at Colts, 11:30 a.m.
▪ S, Lee Hightower, No. 39 Colts (played 2011-12, finished at Houston)
Seahawks at Chargers, 6 p.m.
▪ G/T, Rees Odhiambo, No. 70 Seahawks
BOISE STATE FAN FEST DETAILS
The Boise State football team’s Fan Fest is set for 1:45 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 26, the school announced Thursday.
Fans can watch the team’s final fall scrimmage before Sept. 2’s opener, and afterward can come onto the field at Albertsons Stadium for photos and autographs with the coaches and players. Admission and parking are free, with Gates A, D and P open at 1 p.m. Fans in attendance will get the team’s schedule poster to have signed.