Deionte Thompson – S
With standout safety Budda Baker set to miss the game through injury, it could represent more playing time for Deionte Thompson. The former fifth-round pick has plenty of likable traits to call upon in a starting role and also boasts the right sort of athleticism to counteract the threat posed by the Carolina Panthers’ exceptional weapons in the passing game.
Thompson was the man chosen to come in and replace Baker once he went down at the Detroit Lions. The defensive back took his time to get going, which was to be expected. But now he has had a full week of practice as a starter in the All-Pro’s absence, there should be more to come.
The Panthers haven’t taken many shots down the field through three weeks. This is probably down to the fact Teddy Bridgewater is still getting acclimatized to the offense following his free-agent arrival. But he has been effective getting the ball downfield when he chooses to do so.
Not having Baker in the secondary might see them try and exploit Thompson. However, ignoring his ability to anticipate plays could come back to haunt them.
Thompson is not in the same class as Baker, but very few players at the position are. It is a big opportunity for the second-year-pro and one that could help him forge a successful career in the NFL.