Buffalo Bills 2021 Player Profile: Safety Tariq Thompson
What role could Tariq Thompson have this season with the Buffalo Bills?
One of the players the Buffalo Bills added this offseason as part of their undrafted rookie class was safety Tariq Thompson out of San Diego State. He was an experienced safety at the collegiate level and played in 45 games over four seasons with the Aztecs.
The question will be whether or not he can make enough of an impression to surpass some of the other players at safety to earn a roster spot as a rookie.
Weight: 210 pounds
Years of Experience: R
Tariq Thompson is a ballhawk and does a good job making plays while defending the pass. In his career at San Diego State, Thompson had 11 interceptions and 23 passes defended. He had a career high of four interceptions in a season, which he did twice in 2017 and 2019.
However, he also is not afraid to step in and make the tackle when necessary. He finished with 210 total tackles but also did a good job forcing fumbles and had five in his career as well as five fumble recoveries.
Expectations for the 2021 season with the Buffalo Bills
Tariq Thompson is going to have a challenging path and uphill battle if he hopes to make the 53-man roster this season. The Buffalo Bills have typically kept only four safeties on the 53-man roster and the two spots after Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer seem to already be locked in with Jaquan Johnson (who was a sixth round pick in 2019) and Damir Hamlin (who was a sixth round pick this year).
However, if Tariq Thompson plays well during training camp and preseason games, he would be a likely candidate for the practice squad this season. The Bills don’t necessarily have a true ballhawk at the position so this is a role Thompson could grow into over a few seasons.
Another potential option for Thompson to make his way onto the 53-man roster is if he can prove to be the backup nickel to Taron Johnson. The scouting report on The Draft Network notes that Thompson did lineup a lot in the slot so this could be another chance for the undrafted rookie to contribute.