From the first set of practices, former Boise State safety Darian Thompson has taken command of his position with the New York Giants.
Following rookie minicamp, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo complimented Thompson’s willingness to communicate, calling it “the first thing I look for in a safety,” adding “I think that’s huge and that stuck out a little bit.”
That sort of early promise has turned into consistent play for the third-round pick, and on Tuesday, coach Ben McAdoo said Thompson is the favorite to start at free safety to open the season.
“He’s a guy that goes about his business the right way; he’s done it since he walked into the building,” McAdoo said. “He’s mature, he studies his game, he communicates the game. We expect him to get better with reps.”
First preseason game: vs. Miami, 5 p.m. Friday
DONTE DEAYON, CB, GIANTS
Cornerbacks coach Tim Walton said Deayon is “doing a great job for us.”
“He’s been playing inside, but we’re going to get him some stuff outside ... he’s really comfortable inside because he understands it really well,” Walton said. “There’s been small guys who play well in the league before, so that doesn’t bother me. There are some big guys that play small and some small guys that play big.”
One Giants beat writer quickly understood the power of the Boise State online fanbase.
First preseason game: vs. Miami, 5 p.m. Friday
ORLANDO SCANDRICK, CB, COWBOYS
After missing last season with a torn ACL, Scandrick is back and a key part of the Dallas defense. Of the players expected to be on the field for the season opener, his 9.5 career sacks are the most. Taken in the fifth round of the 2008 draft, he’s spent his entire career with the Cowboys and has become the team’s most consistent defensive back.
“He’s like an extra coach out there,” cornerback Brandon Carr told the Ventura County Star. “We missed his knowledge and we missed his edge. He has incredible edge. It’s contagious. All it takes is one guy to exude that kind of attitude and guys can bite off as much as they need.”
First preseason game: at Los Angeles, 6 p.m. Saturday
DEMARCUS LAWRENCE, DE, COWBOYS
Lawrence will miss the first four games of the season after violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, telling the media “I messed up.” Lawrence led the Cowboys with eight sacks last season, his second after being taken in the second round in 2014.
“Really, I learned my priorities,” he said. “You know what you’ve got to do, and you know you’ve got to let everybody know. I just didn’t follow through with that. I know what to put first from now on.”
TYRONE CRAWFORD, DT, COWBOYS
A shoulder injury hindered Crawford last season, despite having a career-best five sacks playing in all 16 games. He had rotator cuff surgery after the season and tweaked his back early in training camp, but returned Tuesday. The Dallas Morning News profiled Crawford, saying he “needs the sort of breakthrough season that has eluded him for this line to exceed its meager expectations.”
“"here were times when I wanted to do something I couldn't do because of the shoulder,” Crawford said. “But the most upsetting part was I couldn’t make some tackles. I would let a guy go when I had him in my arms. That was the upsetting part.
“I’m just trying not to let that happen, not have as many mistakes this year, and just go out there and play some football and have fun with my guys. I’m just looking forward to a better year.”
KELLEN MOORE, QB, COWBOYS
The dark cloud has lifted a bit after Moore suffered a major injury last week in practice, requiring surgery on his broken lower right leg. He likely will miss three or four months. The Cowboys opted not to immediately sign another backup, though that is still a possibility. Dallas still has high hopes for Moore, who was the No. 2 QB behind Tony Romo.
“The good news is he’s not going anywhere. His mind is great for the room,” team vice president Stephen Jones said.
KELSEY YOUNG, RB, REDSKINS
Young has a slim chance at making the Washington roster, currently in a group of four running backs behind the first three. But Young has not been a stranger to earning his chance, impressing in a May tryout to get signed for training camp. The team website profiled him in early June.
“I am improving on knowing the playbook, knowing the routes and everything,” said Young, who spent last season with the Broncos as a transfer from Stanford. “It’s a complex system, but it’s very similar to the stuff I did in college. It’s a matter of just learning the different terminology, but mostly it’s going through the motions because I am so used to it.”
First preseason game: at Atlanta, 5 p.m. Thursday
This week, we’re checking in with former Boise State players in NFL camps, by division. On Monday, we took a look at the NFC North. On Tuesday, it was the NFC West, and the lone Bronco in the division, Rees Odhiambo. Tomorrow we’ll look at the NFC South. Here’s the current list of former Broncos on rosters, as of today:
Kamalei Correa, LB, Baltimore
Charles Leno, OL, Chicago
George Iloka, S, Cincinnati
Jamar Taylor, CB, Cleveland
Tyrone Crawford, DL, Dallas
DeMarcus Lawrence, DL, Dallas
Kellen Moore, QB, Dallas
Orlando Scandrick, CB, Dallas
Matt Paradis, C, Denver
Billy Winn, DL, Denver
Jeron Johnson, S, Kansas City
Jay Ajayi, RB, Miami
Tyler Gray, LB, Miami
Blake Renaud, FB, Minnesota
Shea McClellin, LB, New England
Marcus Henry, C, New Orleans
Kyle Wilson, CB, New Orleans
Ryan Clady, OT, New York Jets
Donte Deayon, CB, New York Giants
Darian Thompson, S, New York Giants
Rees Odhiambo, OL, Seattle
Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay
Kelsey Young, RB, Washington
Note: Lee Hightower, who played at Boise State in 2011 and 2012 before transferring to Houston for his final three seasons, is on the Indianapolis Colts’ roster.