The NFL is a fickle business, and who you know and who has vouched for you before can go a long ways in helping you stick on a roster.
Darian Thompson, the former third round pick for the New York Giants, is a perfect example.
The Cardinals recently signed Thompson to a practice squad contract, likely because of defensive backs coach David Merritt’s familiarity with Thompson. Merritt was the DB coach for the Giants when Thompson was drafted and helped him have a nice sophomore campaign in New York.
Thompson started all 16 games in 2017, finishing with 75 tackles, six pass deflections, and an interception.
This is the type of long vision play that makes sense for a team like the Cardinals.
They have three safeties who deserve playing time on the active roster, but two of those players, Tre Boston and Antoine Bethea are closer to the end of their time with Arizona than they are the beginning. Boston was a late signing to a one-year contract and Bethea has one year left on his initial three-year deal, but he’ll be 35 next year.
So, what do you do? Get a player that could be a potential contributor next year, now and start to see if he is a viable option.
If he is, he could even start to see some small playing time down the line in 2018 as he gets back into football shape.
If he doesn’t, well you bring someone else in and start over again. It is a process that makes sense, especially at a position where the immediate does not have many questions, but the future does.